We’ve got less than a month left in the FanDuel season (no games past the Divisional Round of the playoffs), which means you’re running out of chances to bump up how much money you cash out at the end of the NFL season (since you’re not silly enough to actually play in NBA games, right?). Since the only complaints I saw last week were about my spelling and identification of teams’ opponents, we’re going to keep going with the Stars and Scrubs format. Except, unlike TLC, we do want scrubs who provide lots of value for a very small cost.
Stars: Aaron Rodgers ($9,300 vs. TEN), Sam Bradford ($6,900 at TB): A lot of the top-flight QBs have matchups they have a great chance of exploiting this week: which is why Rodgers is the only one I list. He’s the cheapest of the A-listers, is by far the most productive member of his offense and has the opportunity to put up monster numbers. Bradford, on the other hand, will be trying to do what Drew Brees did last week and just completely embarrass the inept Bucs secondary. Sure, he’s not going to put up Rodgers’ numbers, but he should have a very serviceable line.
Scrubs: Greg McElroy ($5,000 vs. SD): At this price, all you need from McElroy is for him to not be terrible. Yes, his claims that he learned everything he knows about playing quarterback from Mark Sanchez are concerning. But, with any luck, what he learned was what not to do. if you can get 200 yards and a score out of him, then the salary you use elsewhere has a great chance to pay off the drop off from Rodgers and other top QBs.
Stars: DeMarco Murray ($8,000 vs. NO), Knowshon Moreno ($6,600 vs. CLE): Murray has scored in every game since he’s returned from injury, posting at least 80 rushing yards in two of those three efforts. Which Saints defense do you think is doing to show up Sunday: the one that stifled Tampa Bay last week, or the one that allowed most everyone else to just run over them? Play the odds and put Murray in your lineups with confidence. Moreno is working off of two straight 100-yard games (with a score in each!) and the Broncos should be well ahead of the hapless Browns for much of the game Sunday. That spells a healthy dose of Knowshon.
Scrubs: Vick Ballard ($5,800 at KC), Ryan Grant ($5,200 vs. TEN): Kansas City is really, really bad at football. As bad as the fifth season of The West Wing, even. Sure, he’s only found the end zone once this season, but a high volume of carries this week should give him ample opportunity. Ryan Grant is the longest of long shots, but a visit from the Titans is just the sort of engagement you can exploit.
Stars: Demaryius Thomas ($7,300 vs. CLE), Dez Bryant ($7,200 vs. NO), Roddy White ($6,500 at DET): A disappointing week from Thomas against the Ravens means you get a salary drop and now is a perfect time to pounce on him. Bryant has been one of the top fantasy wideouts over the past month or so. Getting him at a less-than-elite price against the Saints should be criminal. White has never been the picture of consistency, so you don’t really know what you’re getting from him week-to-week. But there’s every reason to think Saturday night’s contest against the Lions could be one of his more noteworthy efforts. It’s just an effort you won’t be able to count on it you’re waiting until Sunday to enter a contest (you lazy bums).
Scrubs: Danny Amendola ($6,200 vs. TB), Pierre Garcon ($6,000 at PHI), Nate Washington ($4,900 at GB): Amendola for $6,200 against the Bucs is just unfair. It’s essentially getting Wes Welker for a thousand dollars less. How do you not do that? I don’t know, because I’m putting him in every lineup I make this weekend. Garcon’s recommendation is, of course, based on Robert Griffin III returning to action. But the two have been dynamite when working together, at which point there’s no reason to think Garcon couldn’t be one of the highest-scoring receivers of the week. Washington is a super-cheap play, which means he doesn’t have to do much to justify the price tag. With a banged up receiving corps, somebody will have to catch the passes Jake Locker is throwing to try and erase a 21 point third quarter deficit. Might as well be Washington.
Stars: Aaron Hernandez ($6,800 at JAX): I’m not buying that Rob Gronkowski is playing in the same way I never bought a Harry Potter book (watched two-thirds of the first movie and I’ve never returned to the franchise. The magical chess game was just too ridiculous for me). Even if he goes, I don’t expect much from him. Which means if you’re spending money on a tight end this week, you want to be spending that money expecting Hernandez to be the top TE on an explosive offense facing the type of defense that makes even Charlie Sheen say “They’re doing something wrong.”
Scrubs: Jermichael Finley ($5,200 vs. TEN): Finley’s chemistry issues with Rodgers seem to finally be a thing or the past, or at least something that isn’t stopping him from producing on the field. Sure, the outcomes might not be stellar, but he’s had a month’s worth of respectable results. That’s something you can be content with when you’re getting such a solid value play.
Greg Zuerlein ($5,000 vs. TB): If I have to sell you on this one, you were not paying attention to the Bucs-Saints game last week.
Stars: Chicago Bears ($5,500 at ARZ): If there was ever a week I was going to pay for a top-tier defense, this would be it. The Bears are discounted on the basis of their recent performance and the Cardinals’ defense prevented the Lions’ from having a huge day last week, so the value of the matchup is discounted. However, all the underlying fundamentals (read: Ryan Lindley) remain this week, providing an excellent opportunity for Chicago to do their thing (and no, I’m not referring to being corrupt politicians).
Scrubs: Pittsburgh Steelers ($5,000 vs. CIN): On the other hand, if you insist on a cheap option, a team with their backs against the wall, playing at home, in an intradivision game against a relatively inexperienced quarterback is probably the way to go.