It is unbelievably the last big weekend of NFL DFS for a while. I'm torn between playing a ton because I'll miss it when it's gone and playing light and trying to just watch and enjoy the games with a lower stake. We shall see what happens by Sunday...
All season we've been finding the best value plays to supplement your lineups and it's gotten progressively harder as we whittle down the player pool. This week the true bargain bin contains only players I will encourage you to avoid. So, setting price somewhat aside, I'll simply tell you who I think represents the best value at each position.
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Tom Brady ($9100): He's not the cheapest, but not by much. It's a very tight grouping from $8900-9200, so you can really play your favorite QB this week with very little sacrifice. If you need to save $200, I like Russell Wilson almost as much as Tom Brady. Brady gets a nice matchup with the Colts...the best in terms of fantasy points allowed of the four. After a slow start which leaves Brady behind Andrew Luck, Aaron Rodgers, and Wilson in terms of season long fantasy points, he's been rock solid the second half of the season, racking up 33 TDs and leading the Patriots to a tie with Green Bay for the league's fewest turnovers. Against a much tougher Ravens defense last week, Brady threw for 367 yards and accounted for 4 TDs.
The Pats appear to be perfectly in sync right now, while I can't get away from the idea that the Colts are just not on the same page. Luck is relying a ton on Dan Herron...see next...at the expense of his big play receiver. He's been winning games, but he hasn't been a great fantasy asset for the past few weeks. The New England secondary is not one I target, especially not this week. That rings even more true when you consider paying top dollar for Luck.
Aaron Rodgers is hurt and facing the stingiest pass defense in the league, in their house. It's a bad matchup for anyone, but if anyone can beat it, it's probably Rodgers and Co. The Seahawks haven't lost at home since Oct 12, when Tony Romo and DeMarco Murray did it with a little help from their tight ends. Both Gavin Escobar and Jason Witten caught TDs in the efficient winning effort. I view Aaron Rodgers as a GPP only play this week owing to his calf injury and obviously, the Seattle D, but he could turn out five TDs any given week.
Dan Herron ($7000): My favorite RB is Marshawn Lynch ($8600), naturally. He has everything going for him in terms of matchup and opportunity, and everyone knows what he's capable of. For the second RB slot though, you have tougher choices to make. Eddie Lacy ($8300) vs Seattle, no thank you. Any of the NE backs? Ugh, they're so temptingly cheap, but I don't want any of it. Many will be on LeGarrette Blount. AGAIN. Last week when so many people loved him he ran three times for one yard. Pay less or equal for Shane Vereen, my friends, if you are inclined to go that route.
Which brings us to Dan Herron. He's been the hottest commodity the Colts have and has single handedly saved Luck's fantasy stock as well as the team's playoff run, in my opinion. NE has a great defense, it's true, but Herron's advantage is in the short passing game, which Luck had been increasingly relying on, even without Revis, McCourty, Arrington, or Browner shadowing his receiving corps. The Patriots gave up six receiving TDs to RB in the regular season, and one last week to Justin Forsett. That regular season mark is good for a tie for the second most in the league. From the little analysis I've seen (I try to avoid others' opinions until after my own work is done), Herron is not a popular DFS target, which is all the more reason to try to fit him in ahead of the NE guys.
Jermaine Kearse ($5800): It worked last week...soooo, yes, I'll probably be going back to Kearse this week as Seattle takes on the worst secondary of the weekend in Green Bay. The targets for Kearse will be there, and he has been remarkably efficient, catching nine out of ten targets in his last three games played (two of those in mid-December before he strained his hamstring). That's the type of game Wilson likes to play, so I don't see any reason to predict diminished involvement for Kearse this week. That doesn't mean he turns three targets into 129 yards and a score again, but we don't need him to at this price. Teammate Doug Baldwin also makes a good play for $400 more. I think they have similar upside, and at this point I'm trying to save where I can.
I also want to mention Davante Adams ($6000), as I have so many times before in this column. When Green Bay faces a good defense, he's their go-to guy. Seattle definitely qualifies, and while they have their hands full covering Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb (whom I'm not paying up for this week), I think Adams gets almost as many looks as last week vs Dallas (11 targets). They used the same strategy effectively against New England's secondary earlier in the season, as I pointed out last week.
Julian Edelman ($7500) is the most expensive WR I'd be interested in if I had extra salary, and the only other Patriot I'd consider besides....
Rob Gronkowski ($doesn't matter): OK, he'll cost you a whopping $8200 on FanDuel, I was trying to save you the sticker shock. But honestly, he's the fantasy player I trust most this weekend. Unless Tom Brady is the vs. Chiefs bad version of Tom Brady, Gronk will most certainly be the focal point of the Patriots offense, and the Colts will have no answer for him. I expect a multi-TD game. Dwayne Allen ($5300) is the next best bet, which does open things up at WR.
NE Patriots ($4900): I'm equally okay with the Pats and the Seahawks ($5300) this weekend, depending on your salary situation for defense. The Patriots, who had the 13th most takeaways this year, get to face the oh-so-generous Colts, who offered the 3rd most giveaways to their opponents this year. They're playing at home, always a small advantage, and I expect the Colts to be behind, which should lead Andrew Luck to throw more. He had two long third down interceptions last week...would it be rude if I considered that the floor for this Pats secondary?
The Seahawks might have appeared to have lost a little of their untouchable sheen early-mid season, but whatever was missing, it's back. At home against a gimpy Aaron Rodgers, there are more than a few ways this game could be influenced by the Seattle defense. Another factor in favor of Seattle is that this game features a much lower projected score than the Indy-NE game.