In this weekly article, we’ll look at the cheaper options that should return good value to your NFL DFS lineups. The bargain threshold varies by site, and position, but generally we’ll aim for our bargain plays to take up about 8-10 percent of your salary cap, except for quarterbacks, which we’ll allow 11-12 percent. A great tool to find bargains is our DFS projection system, which gives a dollar per fantasy point projection for each player. I refer to it often!
Ryan Finley, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,600 FD, $4,800 DK, $20 Yahoo)
You don’t have to do a lot to me impress me at this price, but pulling off the upset over Pittsburgh on Monday Night Football easily qualifies. Finley was the backup QB the Bengals needed, turns out. He threw and ran for touchdowns in the win, while remaining mistake-free. Yes, he attempted only 13 passes. And managed fewer than 150 total yards. But against one of, if not the, best defense in the league, like I said, impressive. This week he gets the Texans, a team that gives up the fourth-most overall fantasy points. There is a slim chance that 1) Brandon Allen is ready to return for Week 16, and 2) the Bengals decide that he is the best option.
Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears ($7,200 FD, $5,700 DK, $28 Yahoo)
Trubisky is more costly, and doesn’t have enormous upside, but provides a reasonable floor for the price. Allen Robinson and Darnell Mooney have been his go-to guys, with both tight ends, Jimmy Graham and Cole Kmet, contributing as needed. It hasn’t hurt that David Montgomery is excelling in the recent run of good matchups, keeping defenses honest. Defense may not even be a thought this weekend, as the Bears take on the Jaguars in Florida. Expect another 15-25 fantasy point game from Trubisky this week.
Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000 FD, $4,800 DK, $13 Yahoo)
It’s possible that more value will open up as the week goes on, so definitely stay tuned to our News and Headlines page, but right now it’s pretty ugly. There are a lot of time-shares, and a lot of tough matchups for running backs in this range. Bernard stands out in this regard, especially on DraftKings, where the situation is really bad. He was treated to a heavy workload in Week 15, and responded well. Whether that continues in this dream matchup with Houston is far from a certainty, but it stands to reason that he will still be in line for about half the workload, if not more…and that should be plenty for him to reach value in this second-best fantasy rushing matchup.
J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team ($5,800 FD, $6,400 DK, $17 Yahoo)
Another PPR favorite, McKissic also projects to see a favorable situation this week. Carolina allows the eighth-most fantasy points to opposing backs, and he has seen double-digit carries the past two weeks. McKissic also has four games this season with over 10 targets. I’ll be less enthusiastic, but not totally off McKissic if it turns out that Antonio Gibson is active for the matchup with the Panthers this weekend.
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Greg Ward, Philadelphia Eagles ($5,500 FD, $4,000 DK, $15 Yahoo)
In contrast to RBs, there is no shortage of cheap WRs I like this weekend. Since I can’t fit Jalen Hurts in here anymore, I’m tapping one of his favorite targets. Ward has five targets per game in each of the last three games, and while he isn’t much of a yardage hog, he has converted those for three touchdowns, including two from Hurts last weekend. The matchup with Dallas is a good one, and Jalen Raegor is dealing with an injured ankle. There are also two tight ends and Alshon Jeffrey competing for targets, but Ward’s usage in the red zone is encouraging. The Eagles are small road favorites in a key game with a high over/under, all good signs for DFS scoring.
Chad Hansen, Houston Texans ($5,700 FD, $4,400 DK, $20 Yahoo)
Without Will Fuller, Hansen has emerged as a nice option for Deshaun Watson. The Texans are among the biggest home favorites of the week against the aforementioned Bengals, though if Finley plays well, this could be closer than Vegas expects. Bottom line, the Texans are expected to score and that usually means a big game for Watson. Though David Johnson is coming off a huge game, Hansen and Keke Coutee both look to have established solid roles in the offense.
Chris Herndon, NY Jets ($4,600 FD, $2,500 DK, $10 Yahoo)
We’ve come a long way from the beginning of the season, when Herndon was expected to be a TE1. I was encouraged by his usage in Week 15, when Sam Darnold targeted him four times and he caught three passes for 48 yards. It’s not amazing, no, but if you’re looking to save big at TE this weekend, Cleveland is one of the best TE matchups for fantasy, and teams have been passing on them successfully all season. It’s never easy to trust a Jet, but here the risk is so low, I’m ok with it.
LA Chargers ($3,700 FD, $3,300 DK, $14 Yahoo)
There are some good defenses facing off this week in low scoring games, but with the Chargers, I’m saving some salary cap and looking for turnovers. The Chargers D/ST has been a big disappointment, but the Denver offense has too. They are the fifth-lowest scoring team in the league and lead all teams in turnovers with 30! Expect a few gifts to fall in the laps of this underperforming, but talented unit.