50/50 or Heads Up
In 50/50 or Heads-Up contests, you should aim for a lineup that has a higher floor over a higher ceiling. If you're in a 50/50 contest, the top half of all entries finishes in the money, meaning you don't have to pick a high-ceiling lineup that shoots for the moon. I build these lineups with the players I need regardless of their price while including my rationale.
Zac Stacy, STL, $7400 –It’s hard to believe that a guy who was buried on the Rams’ depth chart earlier this season makes the list as one of the safest plays of the week. Stacy has a juicy matchup at home against the Bears, whom have lost a ton of players on the defensive side of the ball due to injury. Stacy has received 26, 27 and 26 carries while also hitting pay dirt three times over his last three games. Coming off the bye and well prepared, Stacy is an easy choice this week.
Andre Brown, NYG, $6800 – Two weeks ago I was sitting at a poker table while watching the Dallas/New Orleans game on television. It was ridiculous how big the holes were for Saints running backs. Pierre Thomas, Darren Sproles and Mark Ingram all came away with excellent fantasy performances that night. Enter Brown, who will see the bulk of carries for the Giants against the same leaky Dallas run defense. Look for Brown to see a heavy workload and easily earn his price tag.
Mike Glennon, TB, $7100 – Like Stacy, Glennon is another player I didn’t think I’d ever consider for a FanDuel lineup this season. Tampa Bay has shown a lot of fight over the last few games winning the last two and narrowly beating Seattle. Detroit is a much better team against the run than they are against the pass, and have given up big games to opposing quarterbacks almost every game this season.
Vincent Jackson, TB, $8000 – Jackson has been a target monster this season, seeing double-digit targets in seven of his 10 games. If I’m going to go with Glennon at quarterback, it makes a lot of sense to pair him up with his top wide receiver. I have to think Matt Stafford and company put up some points at home, which will lead to a heavy attack through the air for the Bucs and 10 or more targets once again for Jackson.
Terrance Williams, DAL, $5700 – When the Giants played the Cowboys in Week 1, New York did everything they could to take Dez Bryant out of the game. Bryant had a miserable day and the difference between now and then is the emergence of Williams. I don’t care that Miles Austin will be back; it’s apparent Williams has taken over as the number two wideout in Dallas. Look for the Romo-to-Williams connection to be good for at least one score, something they’ve done five out of the last six games.
Rob Gronkowski, NE, $8200 – With Jimmy Graham playing Thursday night, I’ll go ahead and spend on Gronk this week. This should be one of the higher scoring games and an early deficit could lead to a pass-heavy attach from the Patriots. Danny Amendola and Aaron Dobson are effective enough to allow Gronkowski to work over the middle and he should be in for another big day.
David Akers, DET, $5000 – He’s the cheapest price for a kicker and at home in a dome. Detroit should be able to put up points and Akers has only missed once at home this season.
Minnesota Vikings Defense, $5000 – Scott Tolzien has thrown five picks over his last two starts. Plus, Cordarrelle Patterson is always a threat to take it the distance on returns.
Victor Cruz, $6800 – You have to love Victor Cruz in any type of PPR format. Hakeem Nicks is banged up and the emergence of Rueben Randle will help loosen up the coverage on Cruz. Going with the minimum salary on defense and a kicker allows me to squeeze Cruz into my lineups.
For tournament lineups, you have to look at upside and use some "outside-the-box" picks if you want to cash. Remember, I probably wouldn't use this lineup completely as there is a lower floor here with a lot of players. A mix of studs with a few of the cheaper options listed below could net you the top overall prize.
Case Keenum, HOU, $6100 – I know this looks crazy, but I picked Carson Palmer in this spot last week and backed Nick Foles the week he torched the Raiders. I see a lot of similarities here, as Keenum is coming off a disastrous start for fantasy owners, which we can blame on Texans coach Gary Kubiak. After some reflection, Kubiak probably realizes he should have stuck with Keenum, who looks a lot better than Matt Schaub has this season. The Jaguars are one of the easiest matchups (look at Carson Palmer’s performance last week) in what Vegas is projecting as a blowout.
Andre Johnson, HOU, $7700 – Johnson has been one of the best fantasy wide receivers over his last three games. In daily formats, he has finished with at least 16.6 points in each game while scoring five touchdowns and amassing 42 targets. Again, this week presents an easy home matchup, as the Jaguars gave up touchdown catches to both Larry Fitzgerald and Michael Floyd last week.
Reggie Bush, DET, $7700 – I’m not exactly sure why the Lions got away from Bush last week after he fumbled. It isn’t exactly like Bush has a fumbling issue and he’s their second biggest playmaker on offense. It’s interesting that in every game this season Calvin Johnson and Bush have seemingly took turns posting big numbers. While I don’t see Darrelle Revis shutting down Calvin this week, I also expect Megatron to not be quite as productive as he’s been in recent weeks. Joique Bell being limited by an Achilles injury and possibly missing the game would only help Bush’s fantasy prospects.
Danny Woodhead, SD, $5900 –Ryan Mathews and Woodhead have seemed to take turns providing solid value out of San Diego’s backfield this season. Kansas City has a tough defense, but this seems like a game where Philip Rivers will dump off to Woodhead. It’s not a great matchup, but coming off a bad game most owners will stay away from Woodhead, making him a good play against the pot.
Anquan Boldin, SF, $5900 – While he’s more of a possession receiver at this point of his career, I think there’s a lot of upside for Boldin this weekend. The Redskins have one of the worst defenses in the league and one of their biggest problems is tackling. Boldin has the size to break tackles, which should translate into a nice fantasy day.
Aaron Dobson, NE, $6200 – I already stated that I think this should be a high scoring game and it’s possible that Dobson is one of those guys who has a big game. Brady still looks for Dobson in the red zone and he remains the Pats’ best option to stretch the field.
Jordan Cameron, CLE, $6000 – The Steelers haven’t been good on defense all season (even Matt Cassel lit them up) and hopefully this is the week Jason Campbell looks for his tight end. Ike Taylor should shadow Josh Gordon, opening up plenty of room over the middle for Cameron to work.
Randy Bullock, HOU, $5200 – One of the few bright spots for the Texans last week was Bullouck, who nailed three field goals and both extra points last week. He should have a few opportunities against the Jaguars this week.
Baltimore Ravens Defense, $5300 – The Ravens have a solid defense and over the past few seasons they’ve played tougher at home. The secondary is solid and with Geno Smith playing inconsistently, they seem like a good play this week in what should be a grind-it-out game.