C.D. Carter is a reporter, author of zombie stories, writer for The Fake Football and XN Sports. Fantasy Sports Writers Association member. His work has been featured in the New York Times.
The high-low approach is the only way to go in daily fantasy tournaments, as long as you’re not hardheaded about which positions you’re going to skimp on.
I’m certainly guilty of this: determining well before I fill out my daily fantasy lineup that I’m going to save my money at the quarterback position, for instance. It makes sense to target quarterback as a major money saving area, since there are so many cheap weekly options with delectable matchups.
An inflexible stance in fantasy football — or any numbers-based game of skill — will surely be your ruin though.
My best, most successful Week 4 lineup on Star Fantasy Leagues sported two high-end signal callers: Drew Brees and Tony Romo. Using even one elite quarterback is a rarity for me (as it should be for you). I felt dirty saving that lineup, those two monster quarterback salaries staring at me from the glow of my laptop.
What changed? Why did I run with this approach and take down a 148-person tournament in Week 4? It’s simple, really: I had spotted a few viable fantasy assets at rock-bottom prices, including Dallas receiver Terrance Williams, Bilal Powell, and Coby Fleener. All three delivered dance-inducing dollars per point (DPP), with Williams posting a $377 DPP.
Daily fantasy spending efficiency doesn’t get a whole lot better than that.
It didn’t hurt, of course, that I stacked Brees with Darren Sproles, who eclipsed 100 receiving yards before halftime of Monday night’s tilt against Miami. The Colts’ defense, another frugal Week 4 option with a fantastic matchup against the thing known as the Jacksonville offense, also delivered in spades.
My most important Week 4 takeaway was to keep my degenerate mind open to stocking up on elite guys at any position if I’m confident with major value plays elsewhere.
Let’s jump into Week 5’s screaming value options, and don’t forget to play against me this week on Star Fantasy Leagues. Beating me will double your Week 5 prize.
The below Star Fantasy Leagues breakdown, as a reminder, uses the dollars per point (DPP) metric, calculated by dividing a player’s salary by his projected fantasy point output. The lower the DPP, the better.
- Fitzpatrick is our weekly backup quarterback extreme value play, just as Brian Hoyer was two weeks ago and Matt Cassel was in Week 4. Fitzpatrick has a hideous matchup against what could very well be the best defense in football (Kansas City), so I’d look at Fitzy as a Hail Mary play in large tournaments more than a viable option for head-to-head matchups or small groups.
- Pryor, who showed some serious pocket passing chops in Week 3 at Denver, has a matchup made in degenerate heaven. The Chargers’ secondary is the giver of fantasy goodness, allowing 25.5 fantasy points per game. The Oakland-San Diego throwdown has barn burner written all over it; neither defense will be able to stop either offense. Hence, I have Pryor as Week 5’s No. 11 quarterback.
- Be careful not to scoff at the prospect of using Jennings. Darren McFadden, as per usual, is very iffy to go against the Chargers. His backup, Marcel Reece, will likely miss Sunday’s late, late game too. Jennings was a top-17 fantasy runner in Week 4 with only two and a half quarters as starter, collecting 45 yards on 15 carries and, most importantly, 71 yards on eight receptions. That kind of involvement in the passing game gives Jenning’s a decidedly high fantasy floor. You can’t do better for the money in Week 5.
- Daryl Richardson, as he said this week on the Twitter Machine, has lost his starting gig in St. Louis. No one quite knows who will take handoffs behind the Rams’ sad sack offensive line. I’m guessing it’s Pead, who saw significant playing time in Week 3 before being magically deactivated for Week 4. I would seriously consider playing whoever starts at running back for St. Louis — whether it’s Pead, Benny Cunningham, or rookie Zac Stacy. It’s possible that I could score a handful of fantasy points against the Jaguars’ front seven, which has given up 17.5 points to runners this year.
- Forte is the rare high-end option who offers a gleaming DPP. The league leader in running back receptions (23), Forte unarguably has a high floor and ceiling.
- Kerley is this week’s “they have no one else” play in daily fantasy. Terrance Williams was that guy in Week 4, and despite being pretty bad at football, Williams served his purpose as a fill-in for Miles Austin. Kerley, returning from injury Monday night, could be the only legit wideout for Gang Green. Santonio Holmes is out, and Stephen Hill could miss action with concussion symptoms. Geno Smith targeted Kerley 15 times in the season’s first three weeks, and with Holmes and (possibly) Hill on the shelf, Kerley could produce on volume alone. Atlanta’s secondary flat out stinks, which doesn’t hurt Kerley’s prospects.
- Williams is back in the degenerate saddle as an extreme value pick after news of Miles Austin missing another game surfaced Thursday morning. Don’t be mistaken: Williams is just a guy; nothing special. Happily, this game is about numbers, not football acumen. Williams was targeted eight times in Week 4, catching seven balls for 71 yards. Tony Romo could easily attempt 45 passes against Denver as the Cowboys try to keep pace with Peyton’s Perfect Machine, and I think Williams will be a primary beneficiary of that throw volume.
- It’s tough to say which Packers’ wide receiver will be covered by Detroit cornerback Darius Slay. Jones is my best guess, and if I’m right, he’s in for a possibly huge stat line. See here for more on what No. 2 wideouts have done to the Detroit secondary thanks to Slay’s shoddy play.
- Clay, once again, is on our value chart. Only nine tight ends have seen more targets through the season’s first month — a shocking stat to anyone who labeled Clay a one-week wonder in mid-September. The Ravens have shut down tight ends since Julius Thomas dismantled them on Opening Night, but Clay’s targets and red zone usage should keep him afloat in Week 5.
- Arizona’s defense is shockingly horrendous against tight ends, made clear by the following: tight ends have caught 28 passes against the Cardinals, four of them touchdowns. We saw what Jared Cook did to Zona’s safeties and linebackers in Week 1, and how he’s looked since then. Olsen is seeing a hefty 7.1 targets per game from Cam Newton, pretty much the same as 2012, when Olsen finished as fantasy’s No. 7 tight end. He’s reasonably priced this week, with a ceiling around 20 points.