FanDuel NFL Bargain Bin – Week 6
It’s Week 6 in the NFL and once again it’s time to ferret out the bargain players at each position on FanDuel. Even though player prices are beginning to stabilize and more truly reflect performance through the first five weeks, there is always a bargain to be found. A team full of bargains probably won’t get too far, but taking just one or two of these players can be a great way to afford the surefire high-priced stars at other positions so you can enter the fray with a formidable lineup.
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 if they fall below the following salary levels by position:
QB – 3 Players under $7,000 & 1 Freebie under $6,000
RB – 3 Players under $6,000 & 1 Freebie under $5,000
WR – 3 Players under $6,000 & 1 Freebie under $5,000
TE – 3 Players under $6,000 & 1 Freebie under $5,000
K – 3 Players under $5,200
D – 3 Players under $5,200
1. Terrelle Pryor, OAK @ KC ($6,600) – Pryor has now topped the bargain QB list in four of the last five weeks and has turned in consistently good value aside from missing Week 4 with a concussion. Pryor’s price has remained stable despite a series of productive games every week that he’s played, with the odd exception of his Week 2 dud against bottom-feeding Jacksonville. His QB rating has increased each week, rising as high as 135.7 in Week 5 as he had his first game of the season with two passing touchdowns. His numbers as a passer overall, while efficient, are a bit lackluster with low yardage and just four touchdown passes and two interceptions over four games. His productivity in the rushing game is what has buoyed his numbers, with 229 rushing yards on the season. He has yet to run one into the end zone, but with those yards he ranks 23rd across all positions and third among QB’s in rushing yards on the season despite the missed week. Kansas City is a tough matchup, but Pryor’s versatility makes him likely to put up value numbers even if Oakland loses the game, especially if he gets some designed runs to make up for the current lack of depth in Oakland’s backfield.
2. Alex Smith, KC v. OAK ($6,500) – The other quarterback in the Chiefs-Raiders game is an equally good bargain play and possibly even better given the preferable matchup against the Raiders porous secondary. Coming off of his worst game of the season to date with 245 yards and no touchdowns with an interception in Week 5, FanDuel users may be a bit hesitant to take Smith, particularly because of his reputation for being conservative and unexplosive compared to other fantasy options at his position. It’s easy to fall into the trap of judging a player solely on their performance from the prior week, which in Smith’s case would obscure the 288 yards and three touchdowns he had the week before that against the Giants, as well as the 161 rushing yards he’s piled up already this year. The Raiders aren’t quite as weak defensively as the Giants, but they offer Smith a good chance at reaching 250 passing yards and two touchdowns, as well as getting at least the 18 rushing yards he needs to match his previous career high. Those numbers will be enough to match or outpace many of the more expensive options on the board.
3. Joe Flacco, BAL v. GB ($6,600) – There haven’t been many good things to say about Joe Flacco yet this season as he has looked absolutely terrible completing just 57.7% of his passes for 1,360 yards with five touchdowns and an ugly eight interceptions. Still, with his price at its lowest level in recent memory and a fantastic matchup against the shootout oriented Packers, Flacco stands a good chance at looking more like he did against Denver in Week 1 than the other four games he’s played. Not that he was by any means perfect in Week 1, but facing a team that plays at a similar pace to Green Bay, Flacco managed 362 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions that day. I think he can come close to or surpass those numbers this week, which would make him quite the value play.
Freebie: Mike Glennon, TB v. PHI ($5,500) – As usual the list of quarterbacks available under $6,000 in salary is hideous and uninspiring. That said, out of the class of options including Glennon, Chad Henne, and Brandon Weeden this week, I would absolutely recommend Glennon against the friendly Philadelphia defense. Glennon started the Buccaneers Week 4 contest against the Cardinals and did not do much with his 43 pass attempts, completing just 24 of them for 193 yards, a touchdown, and two interceptions. Of course, Arizona has been much more effective at stopping the pass than the Eagles have this year and if Glennon sees another 40 passing attempts in Week 6, he should be able to do more with them this time around. I’m not sure that Glennon is the guy to make Bucs fans forget about Josh Freeman, but with a couple weeks of practice in the books as the main guy in Tampa Bay, his numbers should be on an upward trajectory.
1. Willis McGahee , CLE v. DET ($4,800) – I’ve been a little hesitant to jump on the McGahee bandwagon after he took over the feature back reins in Cleveland following the trade of Trent Richardson to Indianapolis. It’s always difficult for a player to quickly transition from watching the games to participating in them, but now that McGahee’s had a few weeks of practice and playing time to adapt to the Cleveland offense, his chances of producing are much better. Add in the fact that he’s playing against one of the weakest run defenses in the league, with Detroit allowing 5.3 yards per carry and five rushing touchdowns so far in 2013, and Willis starts looking like the best running back play under $6,000 this week. With Brian Hoyer going down for the season in Week 5, Cleveland seems more likely to focus on the run to keep Brandon Weeden from having any more impact on the game than necessary. McGahee has done little with his chances so far, gaining just 2.6 yards per carry, but he did get 26 carries and a touchdown in Week 5 and could do the same in Week 6.
2. Pierre Thomas, NO @ NE ($5,900) – Thomas is coming off of his best game of the season in Week 5, but it wasn’t due to his rushing skills. Despite receiving 19 carries, by far his most of the season, Thomas managed just 36 rushing yards. Fortunately for him, he added nine catches on nine targets for 55 yards and two receiving touchdowns. When you think about New Orleans pass-catching backs you think Darren Sproles, who is also having a fine season, but Thomas has morphed into a receiving back as well catching an incredible 28 of his 30 targets on the season for 166 yards and the two touchdowns he scored last week. That’s more catches and a better percentage than Sproles, who has caught 26 of 31 targets for 308 yards and one receiving touchdown. Of course, Thomas does lack some of the burst that makes Sproles so dangerous in racking up almost twice as many receiving yards over two fewer receptions. That said, Thomas is on pace to double his previous career high in receptions, and at $5,900 he is pretty much a poor man’s version of Sproles these days.
3. BenJarvus Green-Ellis, CIN @ BUF ($5,800) – The value of Green-Ellis had been in a freefall due to the rise of Giovani Bernard until BenJarvus retook the lead in their committee in Week 5, rushing 19 times for 67 yards and a touchdown. Green-Ellis has been relatively ineffective with his touches, gaining just 2.9 yards per carry, but he has scored three times. Out of the two Bengals backs I would rather have Bernard, but Green-Ellis is the one available for less than $6,000 in salary this week. Buffalo is not an easy matchup for running backs, so expectations should be tempered, but it all comes down to workload and if Green-Ellis can get 15-20 carries again he has a chance at outproducing his price.
Freebie: Zac Stacy, STL @ HOU ($4,900) – Stacy took over the Rams’ starting running back job in Week 5 and did a pretty good job with the opportunities he got despite out-carrying Daryl Richardson by only one carry. With 78 yards on 14 rushes, Stacy averaged a strong 5.6 yards per carry, albeit against a terrible Jacksonville defense. Houston will offer much more resistance, but opponents have been able to run on them to the tune of 4.2 yards per carry and four touchdowns, and if Stacy can stay healthy the whole game he should surpass 20 carries. That gives him a good shot at 80 yards, and if he can add a touchdown to that he will be great value at his bargain price.
1. Dwayne Bowe, KC v. OAK ($5,900) – Bowe has really fallen from grace since the beginning of 2012, but he is still a talented receiver who has a consistent quarterback delivering him the ball 6-8 times per game. While Bowe has only managed 183 receiving yards and two touchdowns on the year, he has been targeted with decent volume each week except against Philly in Week 3 when the Chiefs didn’t really need to throw to win the game. The same reasons I like Alex Smith this week against Oakland apply to Bowe, and he should continue his pattern of alternating weeks with a touchdown, even if the yardage totals are fairly pedestrian. He’s definitely living off his name to a large degree in fantasy these days, but with his price dropping below $6,000 you’re no longer paying for that name.
2. Denarius Moore, OAK @ KC ($5,000) – Moore has developed some nice chemistry with his quarterback Terrelle Pryor and has continued to be much more effective and efficient with his targets than he ever has in past seasons. It was another fine game for Moore in Week 5, catching five of eight targets for 84 yards and a touchdown. That brings the season totals for Denarius to 317 yards and three touchdowns, which paint his miniscule $5,000 price tag as quite a bit out of whack. After all, those numbers mean Moore has more yards this year than Wes Welker, Calvin Johnson, Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Larry Fitzgerald, and many other higher priced options. Kansas City is probably the best passing defense in the league, which is the only thing holding back Moore from being the top bargain of the week. Oakland is likely to need to throw more in this game than they have all year, so even meeting resistance Moore should be able to continue to outshine his price tag.
3. Terrance Williams, DAL v. WSH ($5,600) – Williams was one of the best plays of Week 5 standing in for Miles Austin and catching all four of his targets, which he somehow turned into 151 yards thanks largely to an 83-yard touchdown. Four targets is not exactly something to get excited about, but he did have 8 targets the week before against San Diego. With Austin likely to return at least in a limited fashion in Week 6, it would be unwise to expect tons of targets or another 83-yard touchdown, but Williams should still get some looks in this projected shootout and depending on how much Austin plays he could be a more stealthy value play than last week.
Freebie: Keenan Allen, SD v. IND ($4,500) – Allen is a fantastic play this week for his price after two solid games in a row and a particularly spectacular game in Week 5, when he caught six of nine targets for 115 yards and a touchdown. With Malcom Floyd hitting IR, there is a big role available for Allen in what has been a very strong San Diego passing attack this season. In a way, he’s the new Eddie Royal, except he’s actually much bigger and better than Royal and should be able to continue his productive ways while Royal fades away. It’s tempting to think of Allen as a play-at-all-costs option this week, but it is important to remember he is a rookie and rookie receivers tend to have their ups and downs almost without fail. There are also quite a few good options at receiver this week across a wide variety of price ranges, meaning Allen is just one of many potential good choices in Week 6.
1. Garrett Graham, HOU v. STL ($5,100) – I love Garrett Graham this week as he replaces the injured Owen Daniels as Houston’s number one tight end. Daniels always gets a lot of targets and many of those could go Graham’s way in Week 6. Of course, Graham had already managed 141 yards and three touchdowns prior to the injury to Daniels, which makes him seem a lot more reliable than the average replacement tight end. He also is lucky to face the Rams’ unsightly defense which has allowed 11 passing touchdowns against just three interceptions this season. It can be tough to forego the higher priced studs at the tight end position, particularly Jimmy Graham (no relation), but if you are going cheap at the position this week it’s hard to think of a better value play than Houston’s Graham.
2. Jermichael Finley, GB @ BAL ($5,900) – Finley makes the bargain tight end list for the second straight week after catching all six of his targets in Week 5, although he only managed 32 yards on those catches and did not catch a touchdown for the first time in a game he’s played this year. Finley has never quite reached his potential due to the vast amount of explosive receiving options in Green Bay, but this week he gets to face a Baltimore defense that is allowing about 10 points per game to opposing tight ends. Finley could get some red zone looks this week and with the efficiency he’s shown with his targets, catching 17 of 22 on the year, he should capitalize on any opportunities he does receive.
3. Coby Fleener, IND @ SD ($5,900) – Fleener is coming off of a letdown in Week 5 with just two catches on three targets for 15 yards. That’s the kind of game that will make FanDuel users avoid a tight end, but this week Fleener gets to face San Diego’s appalling pass defense. Andrew Luck will likely throw the ball quite a bit and Fleener’s inconsistent target numbers should bounce back up to the 6-8 range with a good chance at getting a look in the red zone.
Freebie: Brent Celek, PHI @ TB ($4,800) – Celek has been hit or miss this year with most of his value residing entirely in his touchdowns. Even the meager yardage he gains often comes on his touchdown receptions, so he is a boom or bust pick without huge upside. But, with no Charles Clay available with the Dolphins on bye, Celek is best of the worst among the low-priced tight end options this week. The Eagles will likely throw a bit more than usual with Nick Foles manning the quarterback position as Michael Vick recuperates, and Foles has shown a preference for throwing to his tight ends and particularly Celek in the past.
1. Nick Folk, NYJ v. PIT ($5,000) – Folk has been clutch this year hitting all 11 of his field goal attempts through the season’s first five weeks, including two game-winners. He has yet to receive an attempt from beyond 50 yards, something that will inevitably change and could happen this week against Pittsburgh. I see a lot of field goals happening in this game, and Folk has shown he’s rolling with the confidence and technique to hit the attempts he does get.
2. Dan Bailey, DAL v. WSH ($5,100) – Bailey started the season with a bang scoring 22 points in the first two weeks, then fell flat scoring just 20 over the next three weeks. Still, he’s gone 9-11 on field goal attempts this year including 3-3 from 40-49 and 2-3 from 50+. Dallas should have no trouble building a tower of points against Washington and Bailey could reap the benefits.
3. Sebastian Janikowski, OAK @ KC ($5,000) – Janikowski can be a frustrating kicker to watch as he has the leg to kick a 70-yarder but often loses his accuracy on a whim and doesn’t seem to get the opportunities to take advantage of his massive leg often enough. He’s just 7-10 on field goals this year, including 1-2 from 50+, but if you want to take a risk at kicker it’s hard to find a more hyperbolic performer than Janikowski. Kansas City’s stout defense should be able to deny the Raiders from entering the end zone too frequently this week, which could mean more kicks for Janikowski.
1. New York Jets, NYJ v. PIT ($5,000) – The Jets defense has been incredibly effective this season with a league-best run defense allowing 3.0 yards per carry and a pass rush that has sacked opposing quarterbacks 16 times already. The one weakness of this defense is their secondary, particularly with Antonio Cromartie injuring his knee and questionable for this weekend’s matchup against Pittsburgh. The Jets have just one interception and have allowed nine passing touchdowns, which is something Ben Roethlisberger and Antonio Brown will likely try to take advantage of. Still, Pittsburgh has been pretty awful this year and the Jets should have no trouble keeping them one dimensional in New York this weekend.
2. Carolina Panthers, CAR @ MIN ($5,100) – The Panthers’ defensive unit has also been quite effective this season, particularly against the pass, allowing just three passing touchdowns against six interceptions and 12 sacks. They haven’t been too shabby against the run either, allowing just 3.6 yards per carry and only two rushing touchdowns. Some of these numbers are influenced by the weak opponents they’ve faced including the Bills, the Giants, and the Cardinals, but it’s not like Minnesota is a frightening opponent. It’s a good bet Adrian Peterson will make those rushing defense numbers look a little less sparkling after this week, but with Matt Cassel chucking passes under pressure the pass defense numbers should only get better.
3. Pittsburgh Steelers, PIT @ NYJ ($5,100) – The Steelers’ defense has been a huge disappointment along with the rest of the team so far this season. They’ve had some success stopping the run, allowing just 3.8 yards per carry but have allowed six rushing touchdowns. The pass defense has been much worse with no interceptions and just four sacks through four games. That said, I expect the Steelers to look a little better coming off a bye and facing a rookie quarterback and generally middle-of-the-road offense, and their first interception of the year seems likely. If they can manage to limit the Jets’ rushing attack, the Geno Smith Turnover Experience may rear its ugly head and provide some scoring opportunities for the Pittsburgh defense.