So, we’re doing something different with the FanDuel post this week. Not that I cleared it with my editor or anything, but they knew what kind of loose cannon they were getting when they brought me on board. Don’t worry, you’ll still get your standard excellent value plays, but this week I’m also going to toss in some of the higher value players you might consider targeting as well. We’ll call it the “stars and scrubs” breakdown. And you can use these “stars and scrubs” in this freeroll contest FanDuel put up for them being voted the top something or other. Who cares what, it’s free money!
Stars: Drew Brees ($9,100 vs. TB), Cam Newton ($9,300 at SD). Visions of sugarplums are dancing in my head as I think of the tasty line Brees could put up against a Bucs defense that just made Nick Foles look like a competent NFL quarterback. While the Chargers are free, free falling with Norv Turner about to get fired (maybe A.J. Smith, too). The lack of effort spells a big day for a dynamic player like Cam.
Scrubs: Brandon Weeden ($6,000 vs. WSH). Not a lot of great value behind center this week, but Washington’s secondary could make Wheedon look like a reasonable starter. Think 240 yards, two TDs and a pick and see if that makes sense to you at the price.
Stars: Adrian Peterson ($9,500 at STL), Doug Martin ($8,400 at NO), C.J. Spiller ($8,000 “vs.” SEA). Opposing defenses are trying to go all Gandalf on AP and tell him “You Shall Not Pass,” but he’s all like “I’m the F***ing Balrog” and drags them down into the abyss. So, sure, he won’t get the single-season rushing record, but the matchup doesn’t seem to much matter with him right now. The same case I’d make for Spiller with F-Jax forcing Chan Gailey to no longer be a moron. Martin just gets a great matchup, though it’s questionable whether or not he can put up the line he’d have to to justify the price at this point in the season.
Scrubs: Knowshon Moreno ($6,200 at BAL), Shonn Greene ($6,000 at TEN). Baltimore’s rushing defense has been nothing to write home about. The Broncos are favored as well, which could mean a heavy dose of the rushing game in the second half. Bilal Powell is hampered this week, so Shonn Greene projects as the most valuable offensive piece the Jets have (what, you were expecting Braylon Edwards?) against the Titans poor rushing stoppers.
Stars: Calvin Johnson ($8,600 at ARZ), Brandon Marshall ($8,200 vs. GB), Vincent Jackson ($6,900 at NO). The Lions have nothing left to play for other than getting Megatron the single-season receiving record. Even in a blowout, the ball should be coming his way plenty. Green Bay’s passing defense is perfectly average, but Marshall is on a mission to prove his 3.2 FanDuel points against them in the last meeting was a fluke. V-Jax is the ultimate boom-bust play. You’ll either get 34 or 3.4 from him, but the odds move towards the upper end going against the Saints.
Scrubs: Danario Alexander ($6,400 vs. CAR), Miles Austin ($6,000 vs. PIT), Josh Gordon ($5,900 vs. WSH). Alexander has been one of the hottest wideouts in the league in recent weeks, you shouldn’t need to be sold on him. Even if Dez Bryant goes (which makes him dumber than Forrest Gump, but that’s besides the point), the healthy Miles Austin figures to be the primary receiving threat for Dallas. I touched on the potential for Wheedon above. Gordon would seem to be his top target, especially with the rookie’s ability to stretch the field deep.
Stars: Aaron Hernandez ($6,200 vs. SF). Don’t expect Rob Gronkowski to suit up this week and to be limited even if he does. Last week proved the Patriots don’t care who the matchup is against and Hernandez has proven he can be “the man” in a way not terribly dissimilar to Sean Connery.
Scrubs: Dennis Pitta ($5,100 vs. DEN). On the other hand, Pitta is like Denise Richards. Perfectly acceptable in the right context – which is not playing a nuclear scientist. However, for Pitta playing against the Broncos (third most points to opposing tight ends) in a game where you’d expect his team to be trailing is the right context.
Stars: Lawrence Tynes ($5,600 vs. ATL). If you’re going to spend money on a kicker, might as well go with the guy facing the team that just doesn’t care any more…
Scrubs: Blair Walsh ($5,100 at STL). …But for value, you want to take the guy whose offense might struggle to actually punch it into the end zone if not gifted great field position.
Stars: Houston Texans ($5,400 vs. TEN). Bounce-back games are a great time to find value in otherwise proven players. A visit from the hapless Titans should be just what the Texans defense needs for a big day.
Scrubs: Miami Dolphins ($5,100 vs. JAX). Everyone you talk to this week is going to be recommending the Lions defense going up against the Ryan Lindley-led Cardinals, which I can appreciate. I’m just not sold on it considering how poorly the Lions have fared stopping opponents this year. On the other hand, Jacksonville’s offense is nearly as bad and the Dolphins defense is significantly better than the Lions. I’d take the safer play, rather than risking chasing after fool’s gold.