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.
Josh McCown, CHI, $7200 – After looking at the quarterback landscape this week, there are plenty of viable options. However, the only one that’s noticeably cheaper than everyone else is McCown. The over/under for Sunday’s game against the Cowboys is set around 49, one of the higher totals this week. McCown has two straight 350-yard games and another could be in the cards Sunday.
Jamaal Charles, KC, $9600 – Considering how bad the Redskins are on defense, I’ll shell out the big money for Charles. Something else to note are the red flags that many of the other top-priced running backs (matchup, health, etc.) have this week. The Chiefs should build a solid lead and turn Alex Smith back into a game manager, giving Charles plenty of touches.
Shane Vereen, NE, $6500 – Vereen has emerged as the back to own in New England, getting 15 and 18 touches over the last two weeks. Making him even more valuable is 0.5 PPR format on FanDuel, which benefits a running back who gets 5-8 catches a game. New England has looked like the offensive force we have come to expect, and if they can put up four touchdowns again, Vereen will have a piece of that.
Brandon Marshall, CHI, $8400 – After a sub-par week for Marshall, he comes in as the fifth highest-priced wide receiver. Alshon Jeffery is only $700 cheaper. While Jeffery has similar (or higher) upside, the floor and consistency is higher with Marshall. As always, I love to pair at least one wide receiver with my starting quarterback.
Keenan Allen, SD, $6500 – Allen has been remarkably consistent eclipsing 100 receiving yards in five of his last eight games. He has double-digit targets over his last two games, and the Giants should keep the score close enough to keep Philip Rivers throwing late into the game.
Riley Cooper, PHI, $5900 – Philadelphia’s matchup against the Lions is supposed to be the highest scoring game of the week, so expect a lot of throwing. Cooper is a nice value at this price. After a dismal 37 receiving yards last week, I expect a bounce-back effort in Week 14.
Tony Gonzalez, ATL, $5400 – It’s a sign of the times that Gonzalez, the greatest tight end of all time, is around $3000 cheaper than Jimmy Graham and Rob Gronkowski. With solid matchups on the docket and a leaky defense that will force the Falcons to put up a lot of points, Gonzalez is in a great fantasy position from here on out. This week’s tilt against Green Bay is one of those nice matchups, and the return of Roddy White should help open up the middle of the field.
Matt Prater, DEN, $5000 – Prater has attempted only one field goal over his last two games, which has lowered his price tag to the minimum amount for a kicker. A lot of that has to do with being in close games or playing from behind and needing touchdowns. As a big favorite in the thin Denver air, look for Prater to bounce back.
Oakland Raiders Defense, $5100 – This is purely a fade of Geno Smith and the Jets, who have looked terrible over their last few games. Maybe this is the week they right the ship, but I’ll bet they don’t.
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.
Andrew Luck, IND, $8200 – Luck has been incredibly disappointing this season, especially as of late with only one touchdown total and less than 233 passing yards in each of his last three games. Those numbers should have the majority of owners not even considering Luck, who should be part of a competitive game in Cincinnati. Throw in that Luck should add around 30 rushing yards and he’s a great pot odds play.
Alfred Morris, WAS, $7200 – Morris hasn’t had a 100-yard rushing effort in his last three contests and has only one touchdown over his last four games. To make his outlook worse, the Kansas City defense has been decent this season, so it’s not the most favorable matchup. Considering all of that, there’s a chance Washington tries to get him 20-plus carries this week.
Lamar Miller, MIA, $5000 – Considering he’s the main ball carrier with Daniel Thomas likely out this week, this price is a bargain. Miller had 22 carries last week and came close to scoring on a couple of occasions. He’s a solid pass-catcher out of the backfield and has the speed to make a big play.
DeSean Jackson, PHI, $7000 – Jackson could be in for a big game this week in GPP formats, as this matchup against Detroit should be a shootout. I expect Nick Foles to target his wide receivers more this week after using his tight ends to pick on the Cardinals defense in Week 13. A couple of long touchdowns from Jackson could be the key to winning a tournament.
Wes Welker, DEN, $6900 – Considering how consistent he was earlier this season, Welker usually makes for a better play in your 50/50 or heads-up lineup. He’s struggled lately, though, with less than six points in three of his last four games. There’s expected to be cold weather, in which case Manning typically likes to throw shorter routes. That could mean Welker snaps out of his funk.
T.Y. Hilton, IND, $5900 – As usual, I like to pair my quarterback up with at least one of their pass-catching options and Hilton fits the bill this week. His price has dropped a little with him failing to get to 50 receiving yards each of the last three weeks. However, Leon Hall is out for the Bengals and Hilton has 25 targets over those three games. If Luck has a big game, expect Hilton to be a big part of it.
Jordan Cameron, CLE, $5400 – I’m going to ignore the Browns’ problem at quarterback and blindly play Cameron. Patriots coach Bill Belichick is notorious for taking out the other team’s best weapon and without a doubt that’s Josh Gordon right now. That should allow Cameron to work over the middle of the field. Most people won’t even look at Cameron given his low receiving totals over the last four games.
Jay Feely, ARI, $5100 – While he’s not in a dome, Feely has probably the best outdoor kicking conditions of any team this time of the year. Carson Palmer has been extremely effective moving the ball over the last few game and the Cardinals shouldn’t have trouble putting up points against the Rams.
Baltimore Defense, $5000 – There’s a reason Matt Cassel hasn’t run away with the quarterback job. While he looked good against the Bears, their defense has been riddled by injury. He’ll have a much tougher task going on the road to Baltimore. The Ravens have had extra time to prepare and always seem to play much tougher at home.