FanDuel NFL Bargain Bin – Week 20 (Conference Championships)
It’s been a great year full of bargains, busts, and glory, but alas the beloved fantasy football season comes to an end this week on FanDuel. With only the Super Bowl left to look forward to there is plenty of motivation to participate in the final act of the NFL fantasy season on Sunday. With just two games on the schedule and so few players to choose from, it will be a tight week and a single player or two could be the difference between winning and losing. With that in mind, the FanDuel Bargain Bin is here with a few ideas to help get you started on your way to a competitive lineup.
This article will highlight undervalued options to consider at each position for Week 20. The list will only include players if they fall below the following salary levels on FanDuel:
QB – 2 Players under $9,000
RB – 1 Player under $7,000 & 1 Player under $6,000
WR – 1 Player under $7,000 & 1 Player under $6,000
TE – 1 Player under $5,000
K – 1 Player under $5,500
D – 1 Player under $5,700
1. Tom Brady, NE @ DEN ($8,700) – The choice at quarterback for the Conference Championships is pretty much Peyton Manning or the field, but if you’re choosing to save money at the position the selection between the three remaining options will likely be a deciding factor in your contests on Sunday. With the two NFC teams bringing top defenses to the table and New England facing the beatable Denver secondary, I like Brady as best of the non-Peyton’s this week. Although Brady has thrown for just two total touchdowns over his last three games, he’s averaged only 25 pass attempts in that span. It would be no surprise to see that number double facing a Broncos defense that allows an average of 16.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks and often takes the running game off the table by staking a significant lead in the first half. If that happens, Brady will be in position to match Manning in the scoring department.
2. Russell Wilson, SEA v. SF ($8,200) – Wilson did almost nothing in the Seahawks win over the Saints last week registering just 5.72 fantasy points on FanDuel. There’s nowhere to go but up from there, and even though he hasn’t thrown more than one touchdown in any of his last five games I think he can manage multiple scores this time around. San Francisco brings a tremendous defense to the table that only allows an average of 12.6 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, but Wilson is going to need to throw the ball more than usual to get his team to the Super Bowl. It will be a blow if Percy Harvin is out, but even if he is I like Wilson to outdo Colin Kaepernick, who should struggle mightily against the league’s best defense on the road in Seattle. The extra $700 in salary cap space you gain by going with the Seahawk over the Niner could also be enough to get you one more solid option at another position.
1. Shane Vereen, NE @ DEN ($6,000) – Vereen is coming off an awful 4.3 fantasy point game last week when he touched the ball just seven times and played on only 24 snaps in the Patriots win over the Colts. I expect that to change drastically this weekend as New England rarely has the same game plan in consecutive weeks and the last thing we’re likely to see on Sunday is another game dominated by LeGarrette Blount and Stevan Ridley. Blount could have another solid outing, but Vereen is far cheaper and should be a focal point that sees double-digit targets as one of the Pats’ best remaining options in an injury-depleted passing attack. I also like his chances to find the end zone facing a Denver defense that allowed 16.8 fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in the regular season, including five receiving touchdowns.
2. Montee Ball, DEN v. NE ($5,000) – The truly low-priced options are few and far between at all positions this week, but Ball offers some of the best upside available in the $5,000 and under range. He took 10 carries for 52 yards in a backup role last week against the Chargers, with starter Knowshon Moreno handling 23 carries. Ball should see a slightly larger workload this week as the Broncos game plan has been to aim for a 40-50% share for the rookie to keep Moreno fresh. If Denver gets up early, we could easily see Ball be the one to approach 20 touches. New England’s defense allowed an average of 17.5 fantasy points per game and 4.5 yards per carry to opposing RBs in the regular season, numbers that make me think Montee will do some damage with the opportunities he gets.
1. Danny Amendola, NE @ DEN ($6,400) – If you want a top option at wide receiver this week you really have to pay for them. It might be a good idea to do so, but if your lineup requires a discount at the position you can’t do much better than Amendola. The man who was supposed to replace Wes Welker’s production in New England this year justified the injury prone tag he carried into the season and ended up producing with typical inconsistency. He’s been very quiet in the Patriots last three contests, but he had three games this year with more than 100 receiving yards and he has more talent than anyone else left in Tom Brady’s arsenal. That could lead to some big plays if the Pats have to air it out in Denver against a Broncos defense that allowed 22.4 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers in the regular season. I wouldn’t be surprised if Amendola saw double-digit targets and scored at least once on Sunday.
2. Golden Tate, SEA v. SF ($5,300) – The full value of Tate hinges entirely on whether or not Percy Harvin misses this week’s game with a concussion. If Harvin does play I would recommend him at $5,600, but that’s looking unlikely which should mean plenty of action for Tate. The young Seahawk did very little last week with just one catch one five targets, but he ended the regular season with a bang taking eight catches for 129 yards and a touchdown. He’ll have a tough time matching those numbers against a San Francisco defense that allows just 17.5 fantasy points per game to opposing wide receivers, but if he gets the 7-9 targets I expect there will be a path to double digit fantasy scoring. Pair him with Russell Wilson and you’ve got a sneaky cheap way to capitalize if Seattle hits aerial pay dirt against the Niners.
1. Michael Hoomanawanui, NE @ DEN ($4,500) – I imagine most FanDuelers will take one look at the available tight end options this week and say it’s a no brainer to go with Julius Thomas or Vernon Davis. The drop-off at the position after those two is unprecedentedly severe with only blockers, backups, and utter filler remaining. Out of that junkpile of fantasy futility rises Hoomanawanui as the only tight end of any merit left on the New England roster. The Patriots have a bit of a history with churning out tight end touchdowns, and while Hoomanawanui may only see a handful of targets, if he catches one in the end zone he’ll easily be in the running for the best value of the week at his position. He put a touchdown on the board in Week 15 against Miami and he’s got a shot at doing it again in Denver against a Broncos defense that allows 8.3 fantasy points per game to opposing tight ends.
1. Phil Dawson, SF @ SEA ($5,400) – Dawson has been a huge part of the Niners success this year with several game-winning kicks and a pristine 6 for 6 mark on field goals in the playoffs. He was 32 of 36 in the regular season including 14 of 17 from beyond 40 yards. It’s reasonable to expect San Francisco’s game against Seattle to feature quite a few field goal attempts, which could propel Dawson well above the 6.7 fantasy point average that kickers put up against the Seahawks this year. The weather shouldn’t be an issue with a mostly optimistic forecast, and if the game comes down to one final kick to win it I can’t think of any kicker left standing I’d rather have behind the ball than Dawson.
1. New England Patriots, NE @ DEN ($5,200) – It may sound crazy to recommend a defense that’s facing the Denver Broncos, a scenario that has resulted in an astounding average of -0.9 fantasy points this year, but this isn’t a regular weekend. This is the Conference Championship, and you can bet Bill Belichick will have found a way to at least limit Peyton Manning’s effectiveness. I can’t argue with spending on Seattle or San Francisco this week, but if you want to save salary at defense I would go with New England over Denver. I don’t expect the Broncos to be held to a low score, and I even expect them to win the game, but I’d be surprised if the Patriots don’t manage at least a takeaway or two on Sunday. They looked pretty menacing against the Colts last week, and they sniffed the end zone on multiple turnovers. If they manage a pick six this week they’ll easily hit value, and if they don’t they’ll still be looking to put as much pressure as they can on Manning.