Week 14 Daily Games Value Report December 10, 2011  |  Josh Carey

It’s time to take another look at players with the top matchups for use in daily (or weekly) fantasy games like those found on the FanDuel (FD) and DraftStreet (DS) websites. We also look at players who present a good value, despite less than stellar matchups. This look also ignores the Thursday night game, instead focusing on contests that begin on Sunday.



First-tier Matchups
Matthew Stafford (vs. Minnesota: $8,500 FD, $18,339 DS)
Rex Grossman (vs. New England: $6,200 FD, $11,674 DS)
Caleb Hanie (vs. Denver: $5,700 FD, $9,675 DS)
Carson Palmer (vs. Green Bay: $7,100 FD, $12,607 DS)
Joe Flacco (vs. Indianapolis: $6,900 FD, $12,028 DS)
Aaron Rodgers (vs. Oakland: $9,900 FD, $21,718 DS)
Blaine Gabbert (vs. Tampa Bay: $5,300 FD, $7,941 DS)

Second-tier Matchups:
Tony Romo (vs. New York Giants: $8,300 FD, $16,164 DS)
Matt Hasselbeck (vs. New Orleans: $6,300 FD, $11,237 DS)
Ryan Fitzpatrick (vs. San Diego: $7,100 FD, $12,654 DS)
Michael Vick (vs. Miami: $8,700 FD, $15,955 DS)
Phillip Rivers (vs. Buffalo: $8,200 FD, $15,060 DS)

Value Plays:
Tom Brady (vs. Washington: $9,400 FD, $19,411 DS)
Mark Sanchez (vs. Kansas City: $6,900 FD, $12,710 DS)
T.J. Yates (vs. Cincinnati: $5,600 FD, $8,067 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: Stafford and Rodgers are the cream of the crop this week, with Romo trailing just slightly behind. Every other name in the top tier carries question marks about ability or opportunity. Grossman is an intriguing play against New England for sure, but the Patriots’ defense has been improving over the past few weeks, which could be cause for concern with a passer as turnover-prone as Rex.

Inconsistency is the name of the game for the rest of the list. The downside to using Hasselbeck is the concern Jake Locker could make an appearance in a blowout. Vick is just returning from injury and Rivers might spend most of the day handing off to his running backs.

Do you want to bet against Tom Brady? It’s not a top matchup, but New England’s franchise quarterback can move the ball against just about anyone. Sanchez has an opportunity to exploit turnovers from the Chiefs offense, while T.J. Yates is your ultra-cheap option this week.

DraftStreet Analysis: Grossman becomes an intriguing QB2 option when you don’t have to put all your eggs in his basket like on FanDuel. The price is certainly right for a favorable opportunity against the Patriots. Likewise, Hanie and Yates become more attractive options when they can be paired with one of the top options this week.

Running Backs

First-tier Matchups
Michael Turner (vs. Carolina: $7,700 FD, $13,051 DS)
Maurice Jones-Drew (vs. Tampa Bay: $9,100 FD, $16,389 DS)
Ray Rice (vs. Indianapolis: $9,700 FD, $19,221 DS)
Ryan Matthews (vs. Buffalo: $7,800 FD, $12,835 DS)
Mike Tolbert (vs. Buffalo: $6,400 FD, $8,330 DS)

Second-tier Matchups
Marshawn Lynch (vs. St. Louis: $8,300 FD, $15,816 DS)
Chris Johnson (vs. New Orleans: $8,800 FD, $15,093 DS)
Reggie Bush (vs. Philadelphia: $7,200 FD, $12,634 DS)
Ryan Grant (vs. Oakland: $5,200 FD, $6,944 DS)

Value Plays
BenJarvus Green-Ellis (vs. Washington: $6,400 FD, $8,820 DS)
Pierre Thomas (vs. Tennessee: $6,200 FD, $6,653 DS)
Marion Barber (vs. Denver: $5,600 FD, $7,585 DS)
LaDamian Tomlinson (vs. Kansas City: $5,600 FD, $4,165 DS)
Toby Gerhart vs. Detroit: $5,400 FD, $9,453 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: Turner, Jones-Drew, Rice, Lynch, Johnson. It’s likely worth the cash to make sure at least one of those players is on your team this week. All are primary options with the ability to put up monster numbers against weaker rush defenses. Turner’s low salary means he should be on a lot of teams. Matthews and Bush are worthy secondary options. Pairing them with one of the top backs could lead to a massive haul from your RB spot, even if it’s a bit more costly.

Mark Ingram is officially out this week, which makes Pierre Thomas an excellent value to pick up the bulk of the workload for the Saints. If the game turns into a blowout (it likely will) the Saints could take the PT Cruiser for a long, long drive.

DraftStreet Analysis: As we’ve discussed in this space in previous weeks, DraftStreet’s Flex spots offer an opportunity to get creative with cheaper options that have the potential to break out with huge games. Thomas is an even better value here and nearly a must-start on DraftStreet. Green-Ellis and Grant are other backs with the possibility of seeing the majority of their team’s rushing workload (though be prepared for a lower level of total carries).

Barber and Gerhart (if Peterson again sits) could see 20-25 carries, but the degree of difficulty is high enough for each that the workload may not yield much in terms of production. Stick with the big guns for your main RB spots, slide Thomas into a Flex spot and then mix-and-match your final opening based on the final information that comes out Sunday morning.

Wide Receivers

First-tier Matchups
Santana Moss (vs. New England: $6,200 FD, $9,020 DS)
Jabar Gaffney (vs. New England: $5,900 FD, $7,796 DS)
Oakland WRs (vs. Green Bay: $5,000-$5,600 FD, $4,742-$7,917 DS)
Calvin Johnson (vs. Minnesota: $8,300 FD, $16,150 DS)
Michael Crabtree (vs. Arizona: $6,200 FD, $8,330 DS)
Dez Bryant (vs. New York Giants: $7,400 FD, $12,499 DS)
Miles Austin (vs. New York Giants: $6,400 FD, $9,361 DS)
Laurent Robinson (vs. New York Giants: $6,400 FD, $11,249 DS)

Second-tier Matchups
Nate Washington (vs. New Orleans: $5,800 FD, $10,447 DS)
Anquan Boldin (vs. Indianapolis: $6,500 FD, $9,942 DS)
Torrey Smith (vs. Indianapolis: $5,600 FD, $7,689 DS)
Chicago WRs (vs. Denver: $6,400-$5,000 FD, $3,273-$8,328 DS)

Value Plays
Victor Cruz (vs. Dallas: $7,400 FD, $14,358 DS)
Brandon Lloyd (vs. Seattle: $7,000 FD, $10,223 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: Is the ranking of “Oakland WRs” and “Chicago WRs” just laziness? Not at all. Those receiving corps are the “Here There Be Dragons” of the weekly fantasy world. Each team has a quartet of roughly-equal receivers (Heyward-Bay, Ford, Moore, and Schilens for Oakland; Knox, Hester, Bennett, and Williams for Chicago) in various states of health and ability to produce. The Raiders especially have an encouraging matchup against the Packers (the possibility of a blowout means garbage time targets are possible), but it’s nearly impossible to say who will benefit. Despite the low salaries, each group is probably best avoided unless a concrete opportunity materializes around game time.

Dez Bryant is perhaps the safest option among Dallas receivers because his role is best defined. If Austin does indeed reclaim his starting role over Robinson, he becomes a better alternative for the same price. For Baltimore, Torrey Smith could go off and have a huge game — with his speed, it’s just a matter of burning a corner once to having a great fantasy day. However, Boldin is the far more consistent option, although he’s had trouble finding the end zone this year.

You don’t need a sales pitch on Calvin Johnson, but here’s one for Jabar Gaffney. He’s been targeted at least five times in all but two games so far this season. In all but four games those targets have resulted in four or more receptions, and he’s found the end zone in as many games as the two Baltimore options. He might even be a better option than Moss, at a slightly lower cost.

Cruz and Lloyd are each listed for their ability to be their team’s primary target at either the end of a close game or, more likely this week, when trying to come back from a large deficit. Cruz especially should be considered, despite the matchup.

DraftStreet Analysis: Gaffney becomes n even better option here (half the cost of Calvin Johnson!) with the addition of the flex spots. Austin becomes an even better play in his first game back with his salary comparable to Santana Moss (who he should outperform). Cruz becomes more of a gamble as his price increases, while the Chicago and Oakland receivers are no better options than they are on DraftStreet.

Tight Ends

First-tier matchups
Kellen Winslow (vs. Jacksonville: $5,600 FD, $6,700 DS)
Kevin Boss (vs. Green Bay: $4,700 FD, $2,827 DS)
Jason Witten (vs. New York Giants: $6,800 FD, $10,131 DS)
Jimmy Graham (vs. Tennessee: $7,200 FD, $13,881 DS)

Value Plays
Rob Gronkowski (vs. Washington: $7,700 FD, $13,930 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: Rob Gronkowski is a beast. He’s scored at least one touchdown each of the past five weeks and in eight of twelve games overall. The Redskins pose one of his biggest challenges so far this season, but the Patriots’ go-to guy in the red zone appears matchup proof. Considering how close he is in salary to the next closest options, he’s worth looking at.

That being said, both Witten and Graham could be better situated to have a big day (due to favorable matchups) with a lower cost. Witten could outduel Graham outright, while saving you money in the process.

DraftStreet Analysis: Witten’s relative cost goes down even further, which could make him a better option than Graham or possibly Gronkowski. Boss could be moderately productive, considering injuries elsewhere for Oakland, potentially making him an absolute steal on DraftStreet.

First-tier Matchups
Jason Hanson (vs. Minnesota: $5,200 FD)
Stephen Gostkowski (vs. Washington: $5,200 FD)
Robbie Gould (vs. Denver: $5,200 FD)
Ryan Longwell (vs. Minnesota: $5,200 FD)
David Akers (vs. Arizona: $5,800 FD)
Matt Bryant (vs. Carolina: $5,300 FD)
Billy Cundiff (vs. Indianapolis: $5,200 FD)

FanDuel Analysis: This is the week the chickens come home to roost. All the reasonable plays at kicker have jumped above the $5,000 level, meaning you’ll have to shell out the extra $200 to get a favorable play. Of those options, Gostkowski, Gould, Bryant, Hanson, Cundiff, and Longwell seems like a reasonable order. Yes, Akers could out-kick all of them, but is it worth $500-$600 to find out?

Team Defenses

First-tier Matchups
Seattle (vs. St. Louis: $5,400 FD, $5,129 DS)
New England (vs. Washington: $5,000 FD, $4,189 DS)

Fanduel/DraftStreet Analysis: Play Seattle. Play Seattle. Then play Seattle some more. Tom Brandstater is getting the start on Monday Night Football at Qwest field. That’s the ultimate recipe for disaster and a great opportunity to get some huge scoring out of your fantasy defense. New England is the best of the cheap options if you absolutely can not fit Seattle in your budget. If you’re ignoring the Monday Night game, San Francisco ($5,600 FD, $6,363 DS) seems like the next best value play.

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