The Broncos are headed to Oakland this week to play the win-less Raiders, which means that if the regular fantasy article were to run, it would likely recommend starting all of your Broncos players, and sitting all of your Raiders players (outside of maybe Andre Holmes). Because this is the case, and because I'd prefer to write something that's actually useful as opposed to something already known by most readers, this week's fantasy post will be slightly different; this week we'll be taking a look at daily fantasy values, and grading the values of all the key players in this game.
In case you're not familiar with daily fantasy (you should be, because it's awesome), it is a type of fantasy football where you draft a different team each week, with the chances of winning some cash. The catch is that you're allotted a salary cap of $60,000 which you may spend on the players for your team. Each player is given a monetary value, with better players costing more (as expected).
A typical FanDuel lineup card looks like the picture below, and must be filled with the $60,000 salary cap. The only other rules are that you must choose players from at least three different teams and no more than four players from a single team; the rest is up to you.
So, you play daily fantasy football, and you'd like to choose Broncos players, yeah? Daily fantasy football can be tricky, especially when you're trying to find thrifty players to plug into your lineup to balance out your star players. The Broncos and their loaded fantasy lineup head to a juicy match-up against the win-less Oakland Raiders this week, which means that each of them cost a boat-load in daily leagues. Whether you're looking for the best possible lineup to put around Peyton, or you'd like to somehow manage a team with four Broncos stars, we've got you covered.
Team 1: Peyton Manning
Peyton and his laser rocket arm will cost you the hefty sum of $10,000 on FanDuel this week, taking up 1/6 of your total salary cap, and leaving you with an average of $6250 for the remainder of the roster positions. You can still afford to take a stud in both the other big-time positions (RB and WR), but you'll have to be smart about it. Andre Ellington rings in at just $8100 and should give you #1 numbers against the Rams, and Julio Jones rings in at just $8000 against a weak Buccaneers pass defense. Another (slightly more expensive) 1-2 punch in these positions would be Marshawn Lynch and Alshon Jeffery at a grand total of $16,200).
Now that you've got a solid base to the offense, the search for cheaper players to fill out the roster begins. Justin Forsett is a great value pick in daily leagues this week, costing just $6500 against the Titans, who have not been overly successful against the run this season. Likewise, Kelvin Benjamin, who rings in at just $6700 has a nice match-up against the Eagles, who have allowed the 5th-most FFPts/G to opposing WRs. After the addition of Forsett and Benjamin, the averaging remaining salary is down to $5175 per player, with four spots to fill.
A nicely-priced receiver to round out the WR group is Steelers wide-out Martavis Bryant, who will cost you just $6100 and will get a shot at the weak Jets secondary in Week Ten. Another option for the same price is Cardinals receiver John Brown, who's averaging 8.5 fantasy points per game, but is always a threat to explode for a big game.
The Cowboys defense has been abysmal against tight ends this season, allowing the second-most points per game to opposing tight ends. Despite Dallas' track record, Jaguars tight end Clay Harbor is priced quite wonderfully at $5100, although Zach Ertz for the same price is a viable option as well.
With $9500 left, all you've got left to fill is your defense and kicker positions. Fantasy defense is based largely on a team's ability to create turnovers, and the Carolina Panthers, despite having a tough 2014 season thus far, have a meeting with Mark Sanchez on the horizon in Week Ten. The Panthers cost just $4500 on FanDuel this week, and allow you to select a higher-end kicker like Dan Carpenter of the Bills ($5000) with your remaining cash. If you'd like a more expensive defense and cheaper kicker, the Detroit Lions ($5000) and Atlanta's Matt Bryant ($4500) are a nice combo with this lineup as well.
Team 2: Peyton and Demaryius
Okay, so now you're getting greedy; you'd like both Peyton Manning and Demaryius Thomas on your fantasy team. The duo will cost you a lump-sum of $19,000, limiting you to $5857 on average to complete your lineup.
Since Demaryius is your #1 receiver, you'd like to balance him out with a cheap option for your top running back selection. Bobby Rainey for $6700 is practically a steal against the Falcons, who are a league-worst against the run in fantasy. With a quarterback, running back, and receiver you've spent $25,700 and have an average of $5717 for the rest of your players.
Darren Sproles at $6300 is a nice value pick for your second running back, which takes care of that position, leaving you to fill in the bottom two receiver positions. With $13,000 allotted to running backs, you've saved yourself a bit of money from the last lineup, but you've already spent $900 more on your #1 receiver; Brandin Cooks ($6400) of the Saints is a little cheaper than Kelvin Benjamin, and brings you back down to a more manageable average for the rest of the lineup. Cooks, who has a few big-time fantasy games under his belt now, faces off against the 49ers in Week Ten, who have not been overly strong against receivers.
Stevie Johnson is no fantasy stud, but he's a nice fit for that third receiver slot with a price-tag of just $5500, leaving you with plenty of funds for the final three roster spots. Johnson is trending upwards with increased targets from Colin Kaepernick and a game against the Rams on the horizon.
The Green Bay Packers are another defense that has big turnover potential against trigger-happy Jay Cutler in Week Ten, and they cost the bare minimum for a defense, ringing in at just $4500. Paired with Shayne Graham ($4600), the Packers give you enough free cash to splurge on stud tight end Greg Olsen, who will cost you $7000 against the Philadelphia Eagles. Not too bad for spending $19,000 on two players.
Team 3: Peyton and the Thomas Bros.
So you're going to be that guy; you're fully committed to Broncos players in hopes of a massacre against the Raiders. Well, luckily we can make it work if you insist on spending $26,300 on three players, but it's not going to be easy.
First off, we'll start with some thrifty spending on defense and kicker, giving you Matt Bryant ($4500) and the Packers/Panthers defense ($4500). It's no dream team, but it will have to do if you want half-respectable players elsewhere.
Jeff Fisher may claim to be using a running back by committee approach in St. Louis, but the fact of the matter is that Tre Mason has received the majority of the carries for a few weeks now, and he's only $5400 in daily fantasy; he's impossible to pass up at that price, especially when you've got limited funds.
To round out your running back position, you've got two options: play it safe with a relatively expensive player, and pick a couple of sleepers like Martavis Bryant/John Brown at receiver ; OR you could take a flyer on Juwan Thompson for $6100 in hopes that he finds the end-zone and gets garbage time carries in a blowout. The second strategy allows for two more expensive and reliable receivers like Roddy White ($6600) and Anquan Boldin ($6500) to be added to the roster.
Here's how both of those scenarios could play out:
Either way, you've got a nice looking lineup there, despite a very expensive base group of Broncos players.
Team 4: Stop, you're cut off (literally)
Well, you've reached your limit, are you happy? You're not allowed more than four Broncos players on your roster, so you've decided to test the limits with the four most expensive options in Denver. That's fine, we've still got you covered.
Peyton Manning ($10,000), Demaryius Thomas ($9000), Emmanuel Sanders ($8600), and Ronnie Hillman ($7400) are so important to you that you're okay with spending an average of $5000 on the remainder of your roster spots.
Since you're tired of $4500 defenses, we'll suit you up with the Pittsburgh Steelers ($5000) who will face off against the turnover-happy tandem of Geno Smith and Michael Vick in East Rutherford. Luckily, you've still got an average of $5000 to spend, and you don't need a kicker that's more than $4500. For the sake of a change, let's take Robbie Gould, who could be involved in a high-scoring affair against the Packers.
With one running back, one wide receiver, and one tight end spot to fill, you've got an average of $5167 to spend; this could get tricky.
Remember Toby Gerhart? Yes, one of the biggest fantasy disappointments of 2014. Toby's not even injured and he costs pocket change ($4800, actually). Not the most promising pick, but word is that Gerhart is finally healthy and he could see red-zone carries if the Jags can capitalize on the Cowboys' depleted defense. An even cheaper running back option is LeGarrette Blount ($4600), who will almost certainly see garbage-time carries against the Jets and gives you an extra $200 to allot elsewhere.
Buried deep in the ranks of tight ends sits Jared Cook ($4800), the Rams tight end is a sleeper in fantasy who could score significant points against the Cardinals. Arizona has had a tough time covering tight ends in 2014, and Austin Davis continues to pass to Cook despite his regular pass drops. Cook's discount price-tag allows one of those nicely-priced $6100 receivers to be picked, although Louis Murphy of the Bucs is another nice option at $6000 who hasn't been mentioned yet.
There you have it, a comprehensive guide of how to fill out rosters around Broncos players this week in daily fantasy. Best of luck, and thanks for sticking around; let us know in the comments if you find success with any of the above lineups (or at least some of the sleepers) and whether or not you'd like to see more daily fantasy posts as opposed the traditional weekly fantasy post.
Editor's Note: FanDuel is hosting a one-week fantasy football "Double Up" league this weekend. It's $10 to join and nearly half the field doubles their money. League starts Sunday 1 PM ET and ends on Monday night. Here's the link.