Each week I search for the cheapest viable options for your FanDuel lineups at every position. The plays are geared toward cash games unless otherwise indicated and I do try to use a price ceiling of $6500 for QB, $6000 for RB/WR, and $5500 for TE insomuch as possible.
Matt Schaub $6200: Cheap quarterbacks come down to matchups and Schaub gets a good one in Miami (10th most fantasy points allowed to opposing QBs). The Dolphins have been surprisingly disappointing all around this season, though their offense has definite potential this Sunday against the weak Ravens secondary. Schaub and his rag-tag receivers, probably most notably Kamar Aiken, had a decent showing Monday night (232/2) though his two interceptions ultimately hurt his value. For this price, that’s a line we can live with, and with another week of practice, we could get more from Schuab.
Blaine Gabbert $6300: There’s no denying that the 49ers have looked like a better team since Gabbert took over. Yes, that’s weird to type. Gabbert has produced steady, solid fantasy lines against three of the top 10 passing defenses (in terms of fewest fantasy points allowed to QBs), averaging about 250 yards on over 30 pass attempts per game. He’s not mistake free, as his 4:3 TD:INT ratio shows, but again, he’s faced some difficult matchups with not a lot of receiving talent at his disposal. The Bears have been a much better defense over the past five weeks than they were to start the season, but Gabbert, buoyed by Shaun Draughn’s contributions to the ground game, projects as a fairly safe Week 13 bargain option.
David Johnson $5900: If you haven’t already at least mentally locked Johnson into your lineups, you probably shouldn’t even be reading this. Buried on the Arizona depth chart all season behind Chris Jonnson and Andre Ellington, both now out, Johnson has scored seven offensive touchdowns (three receiving, four rushing, plus a return TD on special teams). That’s more than most starters fwiw… The matchup with St. Louis is less than ideal, but for this price, I think we can trust Carson Palmer and the gang to move the ball and keep Johnson involved both at the goal line and in the short passing game.
Ronnie Hillman $6300: Denver faces San Diego this weekend, who has allowed more fantasy points to opposing running backs than anyone this year. You can literally start anyone facing this rushing ‘defense’ but Denver poses a tough choice—C.J. Anderson ($6800) or Hillman? Anderson is coming off the flashy Sunday night game where he scored the game winning touchdown on a big breakaway run, but Hillman was effective against that tough Pats defensive front as well, with 59 yards and a touchdown. Hillman remains the starter, and while both guys will be involved, there is likely to be enough fantasy scoring to go around. This is about the time last season that Denver started to rely very heavily on its run game and it paid dividends fantasy-wise. Hillman should be the lower-owned tournament option this weekend, while I think we see Anderson in more cash game lineups.
Ted Ginn Jr. $5800: Cam Newton is my favorite QB play this week as he gets to face the sieve of a defense in the New Orleans Saints, who have given up more touchdowns through the air than anyone (30). Ted Ginn Jr. is a streaky player who is coming off his first game of the year with zero targets. He’s not a volume play, but rather a deep/TD threat which makes him great for FanDuel’s scoring. While we could make an argument for any of Carolina’s lackluster receivers, Mike Clay of PFF has Ginn’s CB matchup rated the sixth-best this week.
Davante Parker $5200: I really like Ryan Tannehill and the Dolphins going against the Baltimore secondary this weekend. While Jarvis Landry is the main man in Miami, Parker is in line for increased work with Rishard Matthews likely out. Parker saw 10 targets in Week 12, and was expected to make more of an impact in the second half of the season as he recovered from his own injury and acclimated to the team. He was one of the brightest WR prospects this off-season and now has the opportunity to show why against the third-most generous WR matchup with the Ravens.
Scott Chandler $5300: Much like I said with David Johnson, you have to be living under a rock to not have Chandler in your cash game lineups. Don’t expect him to become Rob Gronkowski overnight, but the Patriots have perhaps wisely kept him involved all season long (I know this because there were weeks my throat got sore from yelling at my TV to throw the ball to Gronk instead of Chandler every time he got a target). Bottom line-any piece of the New England offense at home against a weakened secondary like the Eagles’ at this price is a must-play.
Kyle Rudolph $5100: A cheap alternative to Chandler in a better on-paper TE matchup is Rudolph. Seattle has again been exposed by opposing tight ends this season as the Seahawks have allowed the fourth-most fantasy points to the position. I expect Teddy Bridgewater and the rest of the Vikings offense to struggle, but Rudolph doesn’t need a lot of action to reach value. He’s seen 19 targets in the last two games, catching 13 of them for over 150 yards and a touchdown. His usage, combined with the matchup, makes him an intriguing tournament option.
Washington Redskins $4400: The Redskins are my favorite cheap contrarian defense play this week as they host a demoralized Dallas team that just lost Tony Romo…again. From the top of the NFC East standings, thanks in part to their defense, Washington will look to get after Matt Cassel early and often. They’ve forced 12 fumbles this year, recovered eight, and while their secondary isn’t very good, they should be able to force Cassel into some mistakes.
Pittsburgh Steelers $4500: The Steelers are at home against the Colts, who are tied with Tennessee for the dubious honor of most turnovers (22) so far this season. That’s the key thing I look for when going into the bargain bin for a defense, but the Steelers D is tied for the fifth-most sacks, and has nine each interceptions and fumble recoveries. Add to this the fact that the Steelers should own time of possession against a weak Indy defense and there’s a good chance they keep the score down too.