I’m not sure about you, but I typically find it easier to build lineups as the season goes along.
Roles have been established, we understand the strengths/weaknesses of defenses, and injuries usually open up steady value this time of year. That’s certainly the case this week, as I had a difficult time limiting my FanDuel NFL Must Plays column to just eight featured write-ups. I’ll certainly be building multiple lineups this weekend, gaining exposure to players throughout the “participation ribbon” section.
Hopefully this article helps narrow down your list or provide guidance as to which well-aligned players narrowly rank ahead of each other. We’ve been on a roll the past few weeks, so here’s to hoping for continued success!
This column includes only Sunday games (except the London matchup), as that’s considered the main slate on FanDuel.
PLATINUM: Build your lineup around these guys
Mike Evans – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $7,900)
Evans is a beast and bona-fide target hog, a combination that usually translates to success in fantasy football. That has certainly been the case through the past month. Evans ranks second in targets and first overall in receiving touchdowns. Despite that, his price is still very moderate. In fact, Evans is coming off a sweet 8-96-2 statline at San Francisco, as his salary actually dipped by $100. He should thrive in a prime matchup against an Oakland defense that ranks dead last against the pass.
Devontae Booker – Denver (FanDuel Price: $5,600)
There are a ton of fantasy-worthy running backs to decide between this weekend. However, it’s tough to pass up on Booker’s value. As you may have heard, C.J. Anderson is out with a knee injury, meaning the rookie from Utah will absorb a ton of carries moving forward. That’s great news considering Booker was gaining confidence alongside Anderson, churning out a solid 17-83-1 line against a tough Houston run defense last Monday. He’s facing a San Diego defense that allowed him to post 5-46 (over 9 ypc) earlier this month. Booker could inflict some damage, looking at a 20+ carry workload.
GOLD: Next wave to consider, in terms of priority
Julio Jones - Atlanta (FanDuel Price: $9,200)
It may seem like a cop-out, taking the highest priced wide receiver. However, it’s the right pick, and taking advantage of value at running back/tight end allows you to easily click Julio into your lineup. He has a pretty good matchup as well, taking on a Packers’ secondary plagued by injuries to Damarious Randall and Sam Shields. This game has shootout potential as well, checking in as the highest projected total score of the week.
Andrew Luck - Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $7,900)
You could make a strong case for Aaron Rodgers at quarterback, but I like Andrew Luck a little more. The fact his salary is much cheaper makes this decision a little easier. While the Chiefs seem like a respectable pass defense, keep in mind that they have gotten burned by elite quarterbacks. Ben Roethlisberger and Drew Brees were able to torch them in recent weeks, and Luck certainly falls into that pedigree. The Colts offense tends to perform much better at home, and Luck will see heavy volume (as usual) due to Indianapolis’ lack of a running game. The key for Luck usually comes down to whether or not he has time to throw. Kansas City ranks tied for last with only eight sacks this season, suggesting Luck should be able to stand in the pocket and deliver another hearty fantasy total.
SILVER: Good options that narrowly rank ahead of similar players
T.Y. Hilton - Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $7,800)
Marcus Peters is pretty much the only member of Kansas City’s defensive backfield to be concerned about. However, he is also prone to giving up big plays, they are just overshadowed by his insane interception rate. That being said, Hilton will likely run most of his routes while not lined up against Peters. That certainly results in a matchup upgrade for the NFL’s leader in targets. The price is very moderate as well.
Spencer Ware – Kansas City (FanDuel Price: $7,400)
Deciding between Spencer Ware and Christine Michael was a difficult one. They both have great matchups, but I ultimately went with Ware. Here’s why: 1) He’s heavily involved in KC’s pass and running game. This makes him valuable no matter the game script. Michael is more rushing dependent, where his fantasy production could drop off if Seattle falls behind. 2) Ware is $400 cheaper than Michael and easier to blend into a high-quality lineup. 3) Jamaal Charles is still not 100%, meaning Ware should continue to see 20+ touches per game. 4) Ware should dominate the red-zone looks for Kansas City, as arguably their best offensive option. The same cannot be said for Michael, as Wilson could run/throw for pay-dirt.
BRONZE: Not 100% necessities, but they mix well into a quality lineup
Christine Michael - Seattle (FanDuel Price: $7,800)
Looking at the previous write-up, you’ll see why I’m looking at Spencer Ware over Christine Michael. That’s not saying Michael is chopped liver by any means. He’s still looking at an awesome matchup against a Saints’ defense that allowed some huge performances to opposing running backs this season (Freeman, Coleman, Ware, Gordon). Michael’s usage is somewhat dependent on game flow, but the excellent matchup is hard to pass up.
Jack Doyle – Indianapolis (FanDuel Price: $4,900)
Kansas City has been stingy against opposing tight ends this season, and WR Donte Moncreif is expected to return for the Colts. I still really like Jack Doyle as a value tight end. The rationale stems from opportunity. Dwayne Allen is doubtful, meaning Doyle will likely absorb all the snaps at tight end once again. Since the Colts don’t have much of a running game, their short-yardage and goal-line looks usually fall upon underneath routes that feed into Doyle’s wheelhouse. I’m not afraid to go back to the bank with Doyle this week.
PARTICIPATION RIBBONS: Fell just short of a featured spot
Aaron Rodgers – QB – Green Bay (FanDuel Price: $8,800)
Randall Cobb – WR – Green Bay (FanDuel Price: $6,800) – questionable
Jimmy Graham – TE – Seattle (FanDuel Price: $6,700)
Jacquizz Rodgers – RB – Tampa Bay (FanDuel Price: $6,600)
Larry Fitzgerald – WR – Arizona (FanDuel Price: $7,000)
Jets Defense (FanDuel Price: $4,700)