The regular fantasy football season has been over for a couple of weeks by now, but there are still leagues going on every single week over on FanDuel.com. Every week, FanDuel gives you a chance to draft the perfect lineup and win all kinds of cash prizes, even during the playoffs.
This week, SB Nation is hosting a 220-team FanDuel league, with a $5 entry fee and $1000 in cash prizes. You can find this week's league here, and try your hand at selecting the perfect Divisional Round lineup.
The trick with FanDuel, because it uses a salary cap system to draft players, is finding value, as opposed to sheer talent; so instead of drafting Julian Edelman for $7300, you may try to draft Cole Beasley for $5300 because you think you'll get more value out of that pick. Today, we'll look at the four top values from this week, as well as four players to avoid based on price and match-up.
Players with price tags and match-ups that make them not worth your time (or money) in this week's games.
1. Kelvin Benjamin of the Carolina Panthers has averaged 14.2 fantasy points per game this season, but that does not matter this week. The Seattle Seahawks have allowed just 13.6 fantasy points per game to opposing receivers, and Benjamin will be their main point of emphasis in the otherwise-barren Panthers receiving corps. If the Panthers are to win on Saturday, it will be on the back of their running game, so even with his somewhat-cheap $6400 price tag, Benjamin is a player you should be avoiding.
2. Peyton Manning carries a hefty price tag of $9100, which will be a huge hit to your salary cap without really knowing what you're getting. Manning could have a phenomenal game against the Colts, but his play of late warrants some doubt, as he's averaged just 15.4 fantasy points per game over the last five games of the season. The Colts are third in the league over the last five weeks, allowing just 10.5 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks, so this could be another game where CJ Anderson has to carry the load.
3. Jordy Nelson is one of the best receivers in the game of football right now, which is likely why he'll cost you $9000 to draft this week on FanDuel. That being said, Nelson is facing a Cowboys defense that has been stingy against receivers, allowing over 15 points just three times all season (twice to Odell Beckham Jr.). Add the projected cold weather and the nagging calf injury that has been troubling Aaron Rodgers to that, and the value at $9000 looks fairly bleak for Nelson on Sunday afternoon.
4. Russell Wilson is averaging more fantasy points per game than Peyton Manning in 2014, and he carries a $900 cheaper price tag for this week's game against the Panthers, so on first look he seems like a smart choice. The problem is that Wilson managed just 17.5 fantasy points in his last match-up against Carolina (his lowest total for a road game all season), and he has averaged just 18.3 points per game at home this year. All this, combined with the fact that the Panthers haven't allowed a 20-point game from an opposing QB since Week 10, gives plenty of reason to be cautious about drafting Russell this week.
High value picks
Players with high value that have the potential to put your team into the money this weekend.
1. Tony Romo will be battling the same cold weather that Aaron Rodgers will be, but he'll cost $1100 less on the salary cap. Romo is facing a Packers defense that has allowed 20.7 fantasy points per game to opposing quarterbacks (26.0 per game if you exclude games vs. Kyle Orton and Josh McCown) over their past six games. With a favorable matchup and an affordable price, Romo is a sound choice as your FanDuel QB this weekend.
2. CJ Anderson has averaged 20.7 fantasy points per game since his breakout week against the Oakland Raiders in Week 10, and has reached the 20-point mark five times in that span. Two games against the Raiders' weak run defense certainly helps that total, but Anderson has a nice match-up against the Colts this week; Indianapolis has allowed the 11th-most fantasy points per game to opposing running backs in 2014, allowing at least one 10-point running back in all but three games of the season. Anderson carries the third-highest price of all running backs at $8700, but his match-up and the role that he'll likely play in Denver's offense this week are reason enough to draft CJ without worry.
3. Coby Fleener finished 10th in the NFL in targets for tight ends (92) and ended with the third-highest touchdown total as well (8). Fleecer will be going up against the Broncos defense that has struggled significantly against tight ends, especially teams with two-tight end sets. Fleener costs just $5400 in FanDuel this week, and could outscore all tight ends outside of Rob Gronkowski. If you need to save even more money, Dwayne Allen at $5100 is worth a flyer against Denver's defense as well.
4. Dan Herron: This choice should be prefaced with the disclaimer that this is a flyer pick, and not a sure-shot home run. Herron, who costs $6100 in FanDuel this week, is not going to rack up rushing yards against the Broncos, that simply will not happen. That being said, Herron has caught 10/11 passes for 85 yards last week, as a substitution for the Colts' running game. Denver has had a very good run defense for most of the season, but they have also allowed the most receptions (99), third-most receiving yards (794), and second-most receiving touchdowns (6) to opposing running backs in 2014, meaning that Herron's stats from last week could quite possibly be duplicated, especially ifBrandon Marshall and/or TJ Ward are unable to suit up for the Broncos defense.