Week 12 Daily Games Value Report
November 23, 2011 | Josh Carey
Is your team in your season-long league on the fritz, struggling to stay relevant late in the football season? Decisions made in August and early September haunt us all in those leagues, but not in the friendly confines of daily (or weekly) fantasy football games like those found on FanDuel (FD) and DraftStreet‘s (DS) websites. These types of games are all about exploiting matchups. Finding players with an easy path to a big day can get you to the top of the leaderboard. Since winning is more fun than losing, we bring you this breakdown of the players with the best matchup at each position, along with some players with upside even if the schedule doesn’t align as favorably. Then we’ll break down which of those players has the biggest opportunity to lead you to a big payday.
Join us for our FanDuel Freakout Part Deux!
With some Thursday-only contests taking place this week, players in those games will be italicized when they appear in the ratings below. Those are players you should strongly consider for Thursday-only contests and can safely ignore if your games start on Sunday.
Matt Ryan (vs. Minnesota: $8,200 FD; $14,850)
Philip Rives (vs. Denver: $8,600 FD; $15,340)
Matthew Stafford (vs. Green Bay: $8,800 FD; $17,779 DS)
Michael Vick (vs. New England: $8,800 FD; $16,067 DS)
Vince Young (vs. New England: $5,800 FD; $12,488 DS)
Caleb Hanie (vs. Oakland: $5,600 FD; $9,039 DS)
Cam Newton (vs. Indianapolis: $9,200 FD; $19,862 DS
Tim Tebow* (vs. San Diego: $8,200 FD; $15,897 DS)
Matt Hasselbeck (vs. Tampa Bay: $6,800 FD; $11,883 DS)
Jake Locker (vs. Tampa Bay: $5,400 FD; $9,487 DS)
Mark Sanchez (vs. Buffalo: $6,800 FD; $12,489 DS)
Tony Romo (vs. Miami: $8,400 FD; $15,592 DS)
Eli Manning (vs. New Orleans: $7,800 FD; $15,494 DS)
Aaron Rodgers (vs. Detroit: $9,800 FD; $22,285 DS)
Matt Leinart (vs. Jacksonville: $5,700 FD; $9,678 DS)
FanDuel Analysis: Ryan and Rivers come in with the easiest matchups, but they rank just seventh and eighth, respectively, in The Fake Football’s weekly rankings. Stafford becomes a much more intriguing play with a much higher ceiling for only a marginally higher cost. He’s likely a better value than either of the top two players.
Is it Vick or Young facing New England’s porous secondary? Young is buried down at 16th in our rankings. Questions about his skill set certainly raise concerns over whether or not he can even exploit such a positive opportunity. If Vick gets the start, you have to worry about him re-aggravating his rib injury. That likely puts him at a lower average output than Stafford, who comes at the same cost. Newton is an intriguing play – especially since the Colts also have such a poor rush defense. I would very likely consider saving the $600 and starting him over Rodgers, who faces a stout passing defense in the Lions.
Hanie begins a series of lower-cost players who have that lower cost for a reason. Hasselbeck, Locker, and Sanchez all might be unable to exploit favorable matchups and probably aren’t worth the savings. Leinart could be an incredibly sneaky play, however. Andre Johnson returns and the Jaguars’ defense will likely be focused on the running game. The former top-10 draft pick has the potential to put up an Alex Smith-like day (think 200 yards, 1 TD, 0 picks). If you’re looking to save money at quarterback this week, strongly consider the veteran.
Romo makes for a solid Thursday-only play if you can’t afford the extra $400 to get up to Stafford. Eli has just had one of his patented “down” performances, so he’s due for a bounce-back game against a middling Saints’ secondary. Tebow is, as always, a special case. He gets the asterisk because you absolutely must consider the rushing matchup as well as the passing game he’s facing. San Diego is giving up a far lower rate of points to running backs than they are quarterbacks, so the price is probably high enough you should avoid the dynamic Denver threat.
DraftStreet Analysis: So what changes when we move over to DraftStreet? It’s harder to justify spending the money on Rodgers, and Newton becomes a much more dubious play, as well. The value moves much closer to the middle (especially considering you are starting two QBs in a standard DraftStreet contest). Ryan and Rivers become much more attractive options. Manning likely earns the tiebreaker as the option most likely to be in a close game or behind late in the contest. The rest of the values are close enough to their FanDuel proportions that the same analysis roughly holds true.
Joseph Addai (vs. Carolina: $5,800 FD; $4,625 DS)
Donald Brown (vs. Carolina: $5,400 FD; $6,699 DS)
Delone Carter (vs. Carolina: $5,000 FD; $4,285 DS)
Chris Johnson (vs. Tampa Bay: $7,800 FD; $12,061 DS)
Javon Ringer (vs. Tampa Bay: $5,400 FD; $4,764 DS)
Jonathan Stewart (vs. Indianapolis: $6,600 FD; $9,816 DS)
DeAngelo Williams (vs. Indianapolis: $5,800 FD; $7,679 DS)
Shonn Greene (vs. Buffalo: $6,400 FD; $10,075 DS)
Joe McKnight (vs. Bufalo: $5,000 FD; $5,453 DS)
Rashard Mendenhall (vs. Kansas City: $7,200 FD; $12,045 DS)
Matt Forte (vs. Oakland: $9,000 FD; $16,563 DS)
Beanie Wells (vs. St. Louis: $6,400 FD; $10,366 DS)
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. Philadelphia: $6,200 FD; $7,733 DS)
Brandon Jacobs (vs. New Orleans: $6,400 FD; $8,699 DS)
LeSean McCoy (vs. New England: $9,200 FD; $16,976 DS)
Michael Turner (vs. Minnesota: $8,400 FD; $13,123 DS)
Arian Foster (vs. Jacksonville $9,800 FD; $17,017 DS)
Kevin Smith (vs. Green Bay: $6,000 FD; $11,454 DS)
C.J. Spiller (vs. New York Jets: $5,400 FD; $4,515 DS)
Toby Gerhart (vs. Atlanta: $4,500 FD; $6,823 DS)
FanDuel Analysis: There’s a bit of a problem with all of the first-tier matchups this week. With the exception of Chris Johnson, not a single member of the group is averaging more than 10 points per game this season (Johnson is at 10.8 and remains terribly overpriced). It’s important to remember when someone talks about matchups based on fantasy points against a specific position (as this piece does), the points are tallied among all players at that position for the opposing team. So while the trio of Addai, Brown, and Carter might get you a total of 33 points, one of them will likely end up with 12, another with 11, and a third with 10 (or some similar scenario). This trend repeats itself across the top tier. Johnson comes in at 12th on the site rankings, but we don’t see Greene (the next highest rated of the group) until position 22. The Carolina backs come in at 25 and 31, respectively. You might be able to win a heads-up duel by tossing $5,400 or so on a player that gets you 10-12 points, but it won’t win you any major contests. A lot of Duelers will be invested in these players this week: Don’t become one of them.
Blasting the top tier matchups means the value must lie in the second-tier. Forte and McCoy have the ability to have monster days, while backs like Mendenhall, Wells, and (to a lesser extent, if Bradshaw is out) Jacobs provide very solid complementary pieces. Foster is tops on the site’s weekly rankings, but I think the discount on Forte and McCoy is well worth it. Gerhart is the most attractive of the “cheap” options due to his incredibly low price and the possibility of 20+ carry workload. Still, he’s never had 100 yards from scrimmage even when subbing in for AP. If you’re okay with a moderate result for a very low price, he might be your guy.
What’s missing from this list? A lot of good options for Thursday-only games. Every defense in the Thursday games is in the top half of the league in fantasy points allowed to RBs. Green Bay just barely so, which means Smith should probably anchor all of these teams. The Lions are next worst, followed by the Cowboys, Ravens, Dolphins, and 49ers (the latter four of which are in the top 6 in the legue in fewest fantasy points to RBs). DeMarco Murray might be the next best option, since Dallas has the best chance of any team to get to an early lead and could need to pound the rock between the tackles to run some clock. You might be disappointed if you pay big for a RB in those games.
DraftStreet Analysis: The addition of two flex spots on the DraftStreet ledger completely changes the thinking here. Running backs are generally better bets than wide receivers, and while DraftStreet punishes you more for being late to a player’s breakout, that means they reward you more for being early on them.
More proven quantities like Forte, McCoy, Mendenhall, and Wells are still the best options for your main RB spots. However, Green-Ellis, Jacobs (again, if Bradshaw is out), and especially Spiller and Gerhart are incredible options for your flex spots. Being able to get 15 points for less than, $7,000 out of your flex play is much more valuable than similar efforts at FanDuel (where the lineups are much more loaded due to fewer players being used).
DeSean Jackson (vs. New England: $7,000 FD; $10, 478 DS)
Jeremy Maclin (vs. New England: $7,000 FD; $9,122 DS)
Jason Avant (vs. New England: $5,200 FD; $4,250 DS)
Calvin Johnson (vs. Green Bay: $8,600 FD;$15,355 DS)
Nate Burleson (vs. Green Bay: $6,000 FD;$6,752 DS)
Titus Young (vs. Green Bay: $5,200 FD;$4,719 DS)
Roddy White (vs. Minnesota: $8,200 FD; $12,665 DS)
Julio Jones (vs. Minnesota: $6,400 FD; $7,980 DS)
Steve Smith (vs. Indianapolis: $8,200 FD; $13,892 DS)
Brandon Lloyd (vs. Arizona: $7,200 FD; $10,611 DS)
Vincent Jackson (vs. Denver: $7,800 FD; $12,591 DS)
Vincent Brown (vs. Denver: $5,000 FD; $4,301 DS)
Larry Fitzgerald (vs. St. Louis: $7,800 FD; $12,762 DS)
Early Doucet (vs. St. Louis: $5,800 FD; $6,900 DS)
Percy Harvin (vs. Atlanta: $6,600 FD; $10,717 DS)
Michael Jenkins (vs. Atlanta: $5,400 FD; $6,101 DS)
Marques Colston (vs. New York Giants: $7,000 FD; $10,732 DS)
Lance Moore (vs. New York Giants: $5,800 FD; $7,230 DS)
Robert Meachem (vs. New York Giants: $5,000 FD; $4,655 DS)
Andre Johnson (vs. Jacksonville: $8,400 FD; $10,923 DS)
Jordy Nelson (vs. Detroit: $7,200 FD; $12,440 DS)
Greg Jennings (vs. Detroit: $8,000 FD; $12,245 DS)
Nate Washington (vs. Tampa Bay: $6,200 FD; $9,371 DS)
Laurent Robinson (vs. Miami: $6,000 FD;$9,146 DS)
FanDuel Analysis: Things in Philadelphia are a mess. Vince Young will probably get another start and the receiving core has looked lost when Jackson hasn’t been around to stretch the field. The price is low for a reason. Maclin is probably the guy here, but he’s still a risky play. On the other hand, Calvin Johnson seems like a must-play whenever his name graces the top tier matchup list. He should be a staple of any Thursday-only lineups. Smith and White are very solid top-tier options (but likely not replacements for an only marginally more expensive Johnson unless you’re starting on Sunday). If Julio Jones takes the field, he could be in line for a huge day.
Nearly all of the mid-range options seem like reasonable additions to your lineup, but Percy Harvin may be the best value. With AP out, Harvin could see additional touches out of the backfield. Adding in the favorable passing matchup creates a prime opportunity for a great value. Early Doucet provides one of the best options of lower-cost players, while others in his price range have question marks surrounding them.
Nelson and Robinson are listed for their potential contributions in Thursday-only games – their situations may not be optimal for weekly games. Washington seems like a reasonable option for a cheap top target with Hasselbeck expected to start. AJ and Jennings? More on them in a moment.
DraftStreet Analysis: The Eagles (especially Maclin) become such a better deal here considering that they could make a strong play, even with Young behind center. Calvin is tops, but does he get too expensive on DraftStreet? The middle tier becomes incredibly more attractive with DraftStreet’s heavier weighting of recent games. Julio Jones becomes a steal if he takes the field. Harvin and Doucet also get a bump in relative value.
The biggest gainer, and perhaps a must-start if he plays, is Andre Johnson. The Texan’s value has been falling during his time off due to injury. You can get him for roughly the same cost as Lloyd or Colston. That is a great play. Jennings is listed higher than Nelson in this site’s weekly rankings, so he’s the play on DraftStreet due to their similar cost (stick with the cheaper option on FanDuel, however).
Kevin Boss (vs. Chicago: $4,800 FD; $5,366 DS)
Anthony Fasano (vs. Dallas: $5,000 FD; $4,620 DS)
Owen Daniels (vs. Jacksonville: $5,600 FD; $6,271 DS)
Kellen Winslow (vs. Tennessee: $5,600 FD; $7,592 DS)
Brandon Pettigrew (vs. Green Bay: $5,600 FD; $8,690 DS)
Tony Scheffler (vs. Green Bay: $5,200 FD; $4,589 DS)
Fred Davis (vs. Seattle: $6,200 FD; $8,487 DS)
Heath Miller (vs. Kansas City: $5,600 FD; $7,237 DS)
Tony Gonzalez (vs. Minnesota: $6,600 FD; $11,047 DS)
Jason Witten (vs. Miami: $7,200 FD; $11,487 DS)
Jimmy Graham (vs. New York Giants: $7,400 FD; $13,004 DS)
Rob Gronkowski (vs. Philadelphia: $7,400 FD; $13,921 DS)
FanDuel Analysis: It seems criminal to not list Graham and Gronkowski in this space at all, but the recommendation comes with a fair warning: You are betting on the skillset of the player and not the matchup. The value on Gonzalez continues to be amazing, while Daniels leads the lower-cost options. Fasano is the best of the ultra-cheap plays. Boss, Davis, Miller, and Scheffler all have more attractive counterparts at similar or smaller prices.
DraftStreet Analysis: Daniels might be an even better option here, at half the cost of the top options. Otherwise, the rationale remains about the same as FanDuel’s.
Matt Bryant (vs. Minnesota: $5,600 FD)
Steve Hauschka (vs. Washington: $5,400 FD)
Mason Crosby (vs. Detroit: $5,600 FD)
Nick Novak (vs. Denver: $5,200 FD)
Josh Brown (vs. St. Louis: $5,000 FD)
Olindo Mare (vs. Carolina: $5,200 FD)
Ryan Longwell (vs. Atlanta: $5,000 FD)
FanDuel Analysis: Here’s how TheFakeFootball ranks those players this week: Crosby (1), Novak (5), Bryant (6), Mare (15), Longwell (22), Brown (24), Hauschka (N/A).
DraftStreet Analysis: DraftStreet contests do not use kickers.
Arizona (vs. St. Louis: $5,000 FD; $3,569 DS)
Carolina (vs. Indianapolis: $5,000 FD; $3,312 DS)
Houston (vs. Jacksonville: $5,600 FD; $6,837 DS)
Seattle (vs. Washington: $5,200 FD; $4,785 DS)
Washington (vs. Seattle: $5,000 FD; $4,253 DS)
Cincinnati (vs. Cleveland: $5,000 FD; $5,643 DS)
Pittsburgh (vs. Kansas City: $5,000 FD; $7,223 DS)
FanDuel Analysis: The Texans may end up being the highest-scoring unit this week, but a lot of great options otherwise can save you a cool $600. Consider Pittsburgh, Seattle, and Cincinnati (in that order) first. Take Baltimore over San Francisco for Thursday-only games, as they are the cheaper option.
DraftStreet Analysis: Well, these numbers make a lot more sense. Houston is a great option if you have the cash to spend, but Seattle is the best of the cheaper options, given the potential impact of the “12th Man” at home.
Josh Carey first started playing fantasy football when drafting Emmitt Smith first overall seemed like a good idea (It wasn’t). He’s recently found success with daily fantasy games and won the inaugural The Fake Football FanDuel Freakout. For more advice and commentary, follow Josh on Twitter @josh_carey.