Week 15 Daily Games Value Report December 17, 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 Saturday or Sunday.

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First-tier Matchups
Drew Brees (vs. Minnesota: $9,500 FD, $21,769 DS)
Rex Grossman (vs. New York Giants: $6,400 FD, $12,815 DS)
Tim Tebow (vs. New England: $8,100 FD, $16, 170 DS)
Matt Stafford (vs. Oakland: $8,400 FD, $16,961 DS)
Christian Ponder (vs. New Orleans: $6,900 FD, $10,190 DS)
Matt Hasselbeck (vs. Tennessee: $6,000 FD, $10,987 DS)

Second-tier Matchups
Kyle Orton (vs. Green Bay: $5,300 FD, $8,733 DS)
Tom Brady (vs. Denver: $9,500 FD, $19,632 DS)
Tony Romo (vs. Tampa Bay: $8,400 FD, $16,507 DS)

Value Plays
Kellen Clemens (vs. Cincinnati: $5,000 FD, $6,213 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: It’s hard to address anything but Tim Tebow first when he shows up on one of these lists. The problem is that his cost has risen to the point where he no longer presents a great value. Would you rather have Tebow, or spend slightly more to see Matthew Stafford throw all over the Raiders? You’ll sleep a lot better knowing you slotted the more accomplished passer into your lineups. Brees and Brady are the top elite options out there this week. Consider what Tebow did to the Vikings and you see dreams of 45 point New Orleans leads dancing through your head. Likewise, Brady is nearly matchup-proof and will have something to prove against the one franchise in the NFL he has a losing record against. Either are likely worth the cost, while Romo falls into the same trap as Tebow (I’d rather have Stafford).

Ponder returns to the lineup, but is a less enticing option than either Grossman or Hasselbeck (whose risk of getting benched remains low while the Titans are in the playoff hunt). If you’re not going to pay for a QB, however, Kyle Orton may be the best option of the bunch. Orton isn’t your run-of-the-mill new starting QB. He was a starter to begin the season, has years of starting experience (with some moderate success), has had a few weeks to learn the team’s system, and faced these very Packers earlier in the season (totaling 273 yards and 3 scores — though his season-high three picks must also be noted). He could be a huge steal for someone willing to roll the dice. Clemens, on the other hand, is likely doomed for failure and should be considered an emergency option at best.

DraftStreet Analysis: Much stays the same, although the larger distinction between Brees/Brady and second-tier players like Stafford/Romo/Tebow means you have to more closely consider the lower cost players on DraftStreet. Orton is less of a steal compared to his price on FanDuel, but still somebody you almost have to use as your second Quarterback this week.

Running Backs

First-tier Matchups
Felix Jones (vs. Tampa Bay: $6,400 FD, $12,145 DS)
Arian Foster (vs. Carolina: $9,700 FD, $19,676 DS)
Ben Tate (vs. Carolina: $5,700 FD, $6,019 DS)
Chris Johnson (vs. Indianapolis: $8,600 FD, $15,410 DS)

Second-tier Matchups
Reggie Bush (vs. Buffalo: $7,400 FD, $12,807 DS)
Kevin Smith (vs. Oakland: $6,400 FD, $10,310 DS)
Cedric Benson (vs. St. Louis: $6,900 FD, $12,085 DS)
Ryan Grant (vs. Kansas City: $5,800 FD, $8,518 DS)
Shonn Greene (vs. Philadelphia: $7,500 FD, $12,641 DS)

Value Plays
Toby Gerhart (vs. New Orleans: $5,800 FD, $5,461 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: If you’re reading this on Saturday night, you probably want to go put Felix Jones into your lineups wherever you can. His cost is in a great area for a feature back with an excellent matchup. The one red flag is the signing of Sammy Morris: He’s the type of player who could steal goal-line and short-yardage carries from a player the Cowboys have not previously trusted in that role. The perfect storm arrives for Arian Foster – a young QB facing a stout passing defense and weak rushing offense. His price is high, but he could be worth every penny of it. The same holds true for Chris Johnson, who may not be the explosive dynamo he once was, but does seem to have shaken off his early-season rust.

Smith is a big gamble in the second tier, and probably too risky for your FanDuel lineups. “Three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust” Cedric Benson could get his average per carry all the way up to 4.5 yards against a woeful Rams rush defense. That means over 100 yards with his standard workload — punching in a score, too gives you a very nice tally for the price. Reggie Bush seems like a much safer option than Greene (Buffalo has just looked terrible in the second half of the season), while Grant can’t be guaranteed the workload to make him a worthwhile investment. Grant’s fate is one that also applies to Gerhart, with Peterson expected to return.

DraftStreet Analysis: Gerhart is much easier to stomach on DraftStreet, however, where you can safely slide him into a flex spot. The Minnesota coaching staff is looking to limit Peterson as he returns from injury, so Gerhart could still be in line for 10-15 carries. His production could be enough to justify the cheaper price on DraftStreet. Tate falls into a similar position, making him another possible option for a cheap flex spot play.

Wide Receivers

First-tier Matchups
Eric Decker (vs. New England: $5,500 FD, $7,770 DS)
Demaryius Thomas (vs. New England: $5,500 FD, $8,356 DS)
Marques Colston (vs. Minnesota: $7,200 FD, $12,212 DS)
Lance Moore (vs. Minnesota: $5,700 FD, $8,641 DS)
Robert Meachem (vs. Minnesota: $5,200 FD, $4,849 DS)
Santana Moss (vs. New York Giants: $6,400 FD, $10,454 DS)
Jabar Gaffney (vs. New York Giants: $6,100 FD, $10,390 DS)
Dwayne Bowe (vs. Green Bay: $6,900 FD, $10,751 DS)

Second-tier Matchups
Percy Harvin (vs. New Orleans: $7,500 FD, $13,236 DS)
Greg Little (vs. Arizona: $5,500 FD, $6,631 DS)
Nate Washington (vs. Indianapolis: $6,100 FD, $9,360 DS)
A.J. Green (vs. St. Louis: $6,900 FD, $11,721 DS)
Jerome Simpson (vs. St. Louis: $5,200 FD, $5,669 DS)
Calvin Johnson (vs. Oakland: $8,000 FD, $14,636 DS)

Value Plays
Dez Bryant (vs. Tampa Bay: $7,400 FD, $9,818 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: Eric Decker is a player to use generously this week. Tebow was able to exploit the Vikings matchup well enough to put up solid passing numbers, and his ability to get fantasy points through the air has increased as the season progresses. A weak Patriots secondary should mean at least one big play. While Thomas could also benefit, Decker has the higher points-per-game and should be your top option from Denver.

All of the Saints could stand to benefit from playing Minnesota, so it’s just a matter of who you can squeeze into you budget. The Redskins are a slightly worse play, but they too were able to exploit New England and could see another productive day Sunday. Bowe once against becomes an intriguing fantasy commodity with Orton running the offense, but wait for him to prove it before buying in.

The second tier has a lot of value with Harvin, Green, and possibly Washington in line for big days. Little and Simpson likely won’t see enough targets to be terribly useful, while Megatron has been falling off as the season progresses. He’s a risky play at his very high cost.

DraftStreet Analysis: Decker becomes an ever better value than Thomas here, where his cost is actually lower. Harvin’s price makes him slightly less attractive, as his recent production is taken into consideration more. Bryant is relatively cheap compared to the company that surrounds him, especially considering the possibility to haul in a score or two against the Bucs.

Tight Ends
First-tier Matchups
Jake Ballard (vs. Washington: $5,300FD, $5,724 DS)

Second-tier Matchups
Jacob Tamme (vs. Tennessee: $5,200 FD, $2,135 DS)
Anthony Fasano (vs. Buffalo: $5,200 FD, $5,019 DS)
Jimmy Graham (vs. Minnesota: $7,200 FD, $13,347 DS)

Value Plays
Rob Gronkowski (vs. Denver: $8,100 FD, $15,997 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: Is there a way to talk yourself out of playing Rob Gronkowski right now? Yes, Denver has kept tight ends to low fantasy totals, but it seems unfair to compare Gronk to other mere humans. The Patriots lack nearly anyone else who can be targeted in the red zone, meaning you almost have to expect multiple scores from Brady’s top option. There might be a price and matchup where he’s not worth it, but I’m not sure it’s happened on FanDuel yet.

If you don’t want to splurge on your tight end, Ballard and Tamme make reasonable alternatives. Dallas Clark is not expected to play, giving Indianapolis’ other option the chance to shine.

DraftStreet Analysis: This is where you have to start thinking about not using Gronkowski, mostly because of how excellent a setup Tamme finds himself in. It’s certainly possible Gronkowski could score nearly eight times as many points as Tamme this week, but rolling with the cheaper option (and the roster flexibility it gives you as a result) is very attractive.

First-tier Matchups
John Kasay (vs. Minnesota: $5,200 FD)
Lawrence Tynes (vs. Washington: $5,200 FD)
Phil Dawson (vs. Arizona: $5,000 FD)
Stephen Gostkowski (vs. Denver: $5,300 FD)
Sebastian Janikowski (vs. Detroit: $5,500 FD)
Neil Rackers (vs. Carolina: $5,200 FD)
Rob Bironas (vs. Indianapolis: $5,200 FD)

FanDuel Analysis: The kicking game is pretty straightforward this week. With the exception of Dawson, I would use these kickers in almost the exact order of their matchup listing here. Dawson is the rare cheap alternative you can have some hope for producing a solid game if you really need that extra $200 for elsewhere in your lineup.

Team Defenses
First-tier Matchups
Cincinnati (vs. St. Louis: $5,200 FD, $4,863 DS)
Tennessee (vs. Indianapolis: $5,000 FD, $4,651 DS)
Green Bay (vs. Kansas City: $5,500 FD, $6,742 DS)
New York Giants (vs. Washington: $5,000 FD,$5,552 DS)
Arizona (vs. Cleveland: $5,000 FD, $6,308 DS)

FanDuel Analysis: It’s hard to imagine a better setup for the Bengals than the Rams led by Kellen Clemens. They are by far the best option and should be put anywhere you can get them this week. The Giants are the best of the minimum wage alternatives.

DraftStreet Analysis: Here, Cincinnati is an even better value and easier to slot into your lineup. It would be difficult to justify any other squad for your defense spot.

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