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.
Now that we’re deep into the season, prices will largely reflect what a player has done to this point in the year. Players emerging with new roles will frequently offer excellent value, while some disappointing veterans will carry reduced price tags. Unproven running backs forced into action by injuries are some of the most valuable commodities, as they’re rarely expensive, and are often assured of touches. You’ll also want to keep a close eye on matchups, though DraftKings’ prices are adjusted to reflect the difficulty of opponents. It might not make sense to fork over $8000 for a stud receiver, if that receiver is facing an elite pass defense. Likewise, you’ll probably want to spend some extra money, rather than starting a cheap D/ST unit that’s facing the Saints or Broncos.
Now, on to some of the best picks for Week 13
Tom Brady, NE, $8500 at HOU – Brady has been fantastic the last three weeks, completing 69.9 percent of his passes, while throwing eight touchdowns and just one interception. Houston may lead the NFL in passing defense, but the Texans have also surrendered an ugly 18:4 TD:INT ratio, and the direction of the team isn’t particularly encouraging. The Patriots, meanwhile, are coming off a big win and (finally) look healthy on the offensive side.
Matt Forte, CHI, $8000 at MIN –Forte’s been one of the most consistent running backs this season, making him hard to pass up in a friendly matchup. The Vikings rank 25th in rushing defense and have surrendered 13 touchdowns on the ground, while also struggling against the pass. Forte didn’t reach the end zone in his first matchup against the Vikings, but he more than made up for it with 88 rushing yards and 10 receptions. On pace to finish the year with 81 catches, Forte is a stud in DraftKings’ PPR format.
Adrian Peterson, MIN, $8400 vs. CHI – The Bears have consistently been shredded by lesser backs, and now they’ll have to deal with the best. Peterson continues to produce on a struggling team, despite Minnesota’s ongoing issues in the passing game. The Chicago defense that Person will face this week isn’t the same unit that he saw in Week 2. The Bears have suffered a number of major injuries since that time, and now own the NFL’s 32nd-ranked rush defense. There are no sure things in fantasy football, but Peterson against this Bears teams is pretty close.
Giovanni Bernard, CIN, $5400 at SD – The price is right here, with Bernard facing a defense that has allowed its opponents to rush for 4.9 yards per carry. While his limited workload is still an issue, the explosive rookie won’t need many carries to have a big day against the Chargers. Bernard should also be active in the passing game, as he’s averaging 4.7 receptions over his last six contests.
Keenan Allen, SD, $6100 vs. CIN – With four 100-yard receiving performances in his last six tries, Allen has provided Philip Rivers with a true No. 1 wide receiver. Allen’s price on DraftKings doesn’t quite reflect his lofty status in the Chargers’ high-flying attack, and that’s been the case for a few weeks now. It shouldn’t be surprising that Allen’s become a regular in this space, as he’s averaging 5.9 receptions and 88.3 receiving yards over his last eight games.
Percy Harvin, SEA, $4500 vs. NO – You’ll have to take a leap of faith here, after Harvin caught just one pass for 17 yards in his 2013 debut. Coming off a bye, he should take on more snaps, and we know that he has the talent to produce. You won’t find a better player in this price range, though Harvin’s admittedly a risky play. He looked good in very limited action two weeks ago, and I think it will translate to a higher snap count.
Rob Housler, $3800 at PHI – It’s been a tale of two seasons for Housler, who missed the first two weeks with a high-ankle sprain, and didn’t get on track until mid-October. He now has 26 receptions over his last six games, which makes Housler the best option in his price range by a comfortable margin. There isn’t a ton of upside here, but Housler should have a sizable part in the Arizona attack against a vulnerable Philadelphia pass defense. Use the money you save at tight end to score a must-start running back or wide receiver.
Titans, $2300 at IND – The Tennessee defense has fallen off since the beginning of the season, but this is still a serviceable unit at a dirt-cheap price. The Colts are far from an elite offense at this point, as Andrew Luck is stuck with a sub-par supporting cast. Sure, there are better plays this week, but Tennessee offers the best bang for you buck.
Alex Henery, $3000 vs. ARI – Henery hasn’t had many opportunities lately, but he’s a good kicker attached to a strong offense. Even with a tough matchup against the Cardinals this week, Henery is still the best option out of the $3000 kickers. If you can’t tell yet, I’m going cheap around the edges in order to fit both Matt Forte and Adrian Peterson in my lineup.