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King for a Day: Play Your Cards Right

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian

Jerry Donabedian writes about fantasy sports for RotoWire.

Welcome to King for a Day - Our weekly feature focusing on DraftKings' Fantasy Football contests.

For the uninitiated, DraftKings runs fantasy salary-based football contests where users can take home cash each week instead of waiting for the end of the season. If your season-long teams are out of the running, it's a great time to start playing fantasy football contests on DraftKings, as new depositors receive a free qualifier ticket into the Millionaire Grand Finale.

Like most fantasy football formats, it's all about value on DraftKings. Is there a backup running back headed for an increased workload this weekend? If so, now would be the best time to pick him on DraftKings. We're here to help you find those discounted injury replacements or stud options who can help you take home a big payday.

Now, on to some of the best values in Week 11:

QUARTERBACK

Robert Griffin III, WAS, $8200 vs. PHI
– While the Philadelphia defense has undoubtedly stepped up lately, the Eagles have also been fortunate to face a rather weak slate of quarterbacks over the last few weeks. The respite comes to an end Sunday, as Griffin is on pace for over 4,300 passing yards, and he seems to get a little bit better each week. Even after the recent hot streak, Philadelphia still owns the NFL’s 31st ranked pass defense. As the 10th most expensive quarterback on DraftKings, Griffin looks like a fine bargain this week.

Eli Manning, NYG, $6200 vs. GB – After throwing 15 interceptions through the first six games of the season, Manning has righted the ship and successfully played the role of game manager in his last three contests. Now that he has some confidence back, Manning should be able to hit on a few big plays against a Green Bay team that has been vulnerable on the back end all season. Sure, there are a number of superior quarterback options out there, but none of them carry Manning’s affordable $6200 price tag.

RUNNING BACK

Frank Gore, SF, $6800 vs. NO
– Assuming the 49ers can avoid getting completely run over on defense, Gore should be in for a big game. He’s topped 70 rushing yards in seven consecutive contests, with six touchdowns over that span, despite facing some of the league’s better defenses. After facing off against a fearsome Carolina D in Week 10, Gore gets a crack at a New Orleans unit that’s allowing its opponents to rush for 5.0 yards per carry. The only way I can envision the Saints shutting Gore down is if Drew Brees is able to build a huge lead that forces the 49ers to pass. The San Francisco defense may not get the best of Brees, but they should at least do enough to keep things from getting ugly.

Ben Tate, Hou, $5000 vs. OAK – With Arian Foster (back) out again and possibly done for the season, we finally get to see what Tate can do with the starting role to himself over an extended period of time. While the early results have been rather unimpressive, Tate should have a good chance to get back on track with some friendly matchups over the next four weeks. He said that his four broken ribs are starting to feel better, and Oakland’s surprisingly strong run defense seems to be headed in the wrong direction. With QB Case Keenum playing reasonably well thus far, and 15-25 touches likely coming Tate’s way, the big back should have some room to run.

Andre Ellington, AZ, $4800 vs. JAX – Don’t let Rashard Mendenhall’s return scare you away from Ellington, who is averaging a whopping 7.2 yards on 52 carries. The Cardinals already expressed a desire to use their speed back more often, and half of Ellington’s carries came in the last two games. With a softball matchup against the Jaguars looming, Ellington may only need 8-10 touches in order to put together a big game. Of course, should the Cardinals build a lead, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Ellington up around 15 touches, or possibly even 20. This is a good week for discount running backs on DraftKings, with other notable bargains including Chris Ivory ($4600 vs. NYJ), Rashad Jennings ($4500 vs. HOU), and Ryan Mathews ($4500 vs. MIA).

WIDE RECEIVER

DeSean Jackson, PHI, $8200 vs. WAS
– The Redskins still can’t play a lick of defense, while the Philadelphia passing game has fallen into a nice rhythm with Nick Foles at the helm. You’ll be paying a lot for Jackson, but he’s on pace to finish with 86 receptions for 1,445 receiving yards and 11 touchdowns. No longer just a deep threat, Jackson’s become a dependable weapon in Eagles coach Chip Kelly’s scheme. While he may not be able to dominate the middle of the field like a Brandon Marshall or Calvin Johnson, Jackson’s work along the sidelines and on screens serves as an excellent complement to his deep speed.

Marques Colston, NO, $5200 vs. SF – Colston came back from the dead last week to roast the Cowboys for 107 receiving yards and a touchdown. With his knee feeling better and his role in the offense re-established, he should remain active in the passing game. Darren Sproles and Jimmy Graham may have a tougher time than usual this week, as the 49ers boast one of the elite linebacking corps in the league. If the Saints are forced to look outside more often, Colston should be the primary beneficiary. Call me crazy, but after years of consistency, I’m really not too worried about his slump. Colston’s only 30 years old and has never relied on speed to be successful.

Antonio Brown, PIT, $6500 vs. DET – He may not have the memorable performances that some of the league’s other top receivers can claim, but Brown has been as consistent as they come since the beginning of the season. He’s caught at least five passes in every game and has yet to finish with fewer than 50 receiving yards in any contest. His unwavering involvement in the offense is exactly what fantasy owners want to see, and this week Brown gets to face the NFL’s 27th ranked pass defense. It will be mildly surprising if he doesn’t catch at least 6-7 passes.

TIGHT END

Coby Fleener, IND, $3800 vs. TEN
– While I’m admittedly not a huge fan of Fleener as a player, it’s hard not to feel better about his prospects following last week’s season-high 10 targets. With Reggie Wayne (knee) out for the year and Darrius Heyward-Bey still disappointing, the Colts don’t have many capable bodies to throw to, with the exception of T.Y. Hilton and Fleener. Hilton’s the clear lead dog, but Fleener has a chance to emerge as Andrew Luck’s second-favorite target down the stretch. At $3800, I’m willing to take a chance on Fleener, even against a solid Tennessee defense. Those of you looking for a more dependable option may want to check out Washington’s Jordan Reed ($5300 vs. PHI). The elite tight ends have it tough this week, as Rob Gronkowski ($7500 vs. CAR), Jimmy Graham ($7400 vs. SF), and Julius Thomas ($5700 vs. KC) all have to deal with difficult matchups, though each of the three is still a reasonable choice.

Team D/ST

Indianapolis, $3000 vs. TEN
– Last week’s debacle aside, the Colts have been decent on defense this season, thanks in large part to the heroic pass rushing of Robert Mathis (13.5 sacks). Nobody will mistake this for an elite unit, but with Jake Locker (foot) out for the year, Indianapolis won’t need to play at an elite level in order to slow down the Ryan Fitzpatrick-led Tennessee offense. If you aren’t convinced yet, remember that the Thursday games are notorious for being sloppy. Look for the Indianapolis defense to bounce back in a game that may not be much fun to watch. On another note, those of you willing to spend more on a defense may want to check out the excellent Arizona unit ($5800) going up against the ugly Jacksonville offense. The price tag is burdensome but the matchup is unquestionably top notch.

KICKER

David Akers, DET, $3000 vs. PIT
– Akers hasn’t kicked multiple field goals in a game since Week 4, causing his price to drop all the way down to $3000. Sure, he’s missed a few make-able field goals, but Akers’ recent lack of volume reeks of bad luck. The veteran is still attached to a strong offense, and the Lions won’t always be able to punch it in to the end zone. If you want to go in another direction, there are quite a few solid kickers carrying the $3000 price tag this week.