Each week this article will be dedicated to highlighting players who I perceive to be excellent values on FanDuel, be it via a discounted price or due to an injury that opens up additional looks/touches.
Johnny Manziel, Cleveland Browns, $6,700
It only took 14 weeks, but Jonathan Football is finally going to be unleashed on the fantasy football world. No, I'm not silly enough to think he's going to treat the Bengals as if they are Duke and that JFF is good for five touchdowns, but he obviously doesn't need that to satisfy such a reasonable asking price. Cincinnati is coming off a week in which they were absolutely torched by Ben Roethlisberger, but the key to Manziel is his legs. The presumption here is that he's good for 40 yards on the ground (and that might be a bit conservative), which essentially translates into a free TD when converted into fantasy points. Throw in an actual touchdown or two, and Manziel will have you emulating his famed counting money celebration when checking your scores come Monday night.
Derek Anderson, Carolina Panthers, $5,000
Due to a car accident, Cam Newton will not be under center for the Panthers this week. Coincidentally, the only other game Anderson started was against this week’s opponent. He threw for 230 yards and two scores against the Buccaneers all the way back in Week 1. Such a stat line would more than satisfy his backers, and it’s not like the Tampa Bay defense has grown to be daunting as the season has progressed. They are the second-worst unit according to Pro Football Focus after all. The best part about rostering Anderson, who comes in at the bare minimum price, is that he will allow you to pay premium prices on several elite options this week, which only enhances his appeal.
Jeremy Hill, Cincinnati Bengals, $7,100
Truth be told, I'm looking to spend up at the running back position. That said, Hill is shaping up to be a worthy alternative. When Giovani Bernard went down hurt earlier this season, the LSU rookie excelled when given the extended usage. Since Gio came back from injury, it’s basically been a time share (with Hill averaging 15.6 touches to Bernard's 13) but Hill appears to be separating himself. Bernard conceded this point, as he volunteered that Jeremy will be the starter this week. Offensive coordinator Hue Jackson implied as much, as he appears to be ready to hand over the majority of the carries to him. The prospect of getting 20 or so touches from a talented back, at a reasonable price, requires your attention.
LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots, $6,500
The Dolphins have been getting absolutely shredded on the ground of the late. In their last three games, they have yielded an absurd 661 yards via the run, which averages out to over 220 per game. It’s a small sample, but it’s just a brutally awful stretch. Blount, the once-again Patriot, was entrusted to carry the rock 20 times (out of a total of 24 running back carries) last week. He was the unquestioned lead back, but trying to predict Bill Belichick can be a tricky game (which probably makes LeGarrette a tournament only play). If Blount were to see a similar workload vs the recently dreadful Miami front seven, I have a hard time not seeing him pay off this very reasonable salary.
Harry Douglas, Atlanta Falcons, $5,800
This is an if/then recommendation. If star wide receiver Julio Jones sits, then Harry Douglas becomes a very intriguing value play this week. After shaking my metaphorical Magic 8-Ball, it comes up "outlook not so good" when asked the prospect of Julio suiting up this week. The last time the Falcons were missing one of their top two wideouts was Week 13 when Douglas stepped in for an ailing Roddy White. Stepping up as the WR2, Harry ended up being targeted twelve times as he racked up nine receptions for 116 yards. If this scenario were to play out once again this week, I like his chances to satisfy his appealing asking price vs. the fantasy friendly Steelers.
Marquess Wilson, Chicago Bears, $4,500
There are some ridiculously prime matchups this week (especially at the running back position) that you are going to want to pay up for. You never want to see injuries, but the loss of Brandon Marshall has opened up some value when it’s most needed. At 6'4, the second year man out of Washington State certainly looks the part of someone that can step in and take advantage of an opportunity to start. He saw five balls thrown his direction last week when he subbed for Marshall, and a game vs. the putrid New Orleans defense (as well as playing all four quarters) promises even more. The Saints have given up over 265 passing yards per game on the season, which is only better than three other teams in the league. The NO-CHI game has a massive 54 over/under when we look at the NFL Vegas odds. Rostering Marquess at the site minimum price is a cheap way to get some much needed shares of this contest.
Delanie Walker, Tennessee Titans, $5,300
While it didn't work out for those who rostered him last week, it wasn't for a lack of trying. Of 35 Tennessee pass attempts, 10 were thrown Delanie's way. Justin Hunter is out for the season and Kendall Wright is listed as questionable, so receiving options are slim for the Titans. This week they will take on the Jets, who are stout against the run, but have had issues containing the passing game. More specifically, according to the RotoGrinders Defense vs Position rankings, New York has given up the fifth-most FanDuel points to tight ends this season. I'm all about spending up for an elite tight end, but if you are short on salary, Walker needs to be considered.
Kansas City Chiefs, $4,900
The Chiefs have scored no more than three FanDuel points in the last four weeks, which explains the suppressed asking price. Sure, the Raiders were one of those teams that Kansas City flopped against, but that was a road Thursday night game, and we know how fluky those can be. Vegas agrees that the Chiefs are well positioned to avenge that loss, as they have installed them as a 10-point favorite in game with a pedestrian 41 over/under. This suggests that Oakland will likely have some issues scoring, but you already knew that. Ignore the recent fantasy output, and take advantage of the discounted price and prime matchup.