I hate more than anything someone who beats their chest, but I think it’s ok for me to point out I’ve been running pretty good the last couple of weeks. Two weeks ago, I hit a bunch of home runs with my tournament picks, and I can’t see how you lost last week with my 50/50 or Heads Up lineup. Hopefully, I can keep things rolling this week.
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.
Nick Foles, PHI, $9200 – I think there’s been a certain floor established with Foles, who other than the Dallas game at home, has been more than stellar. The weather last week pretty much killed him, and the Eagles finding a lot of success running the ball certainly took away value as well. The Eagles take on the Vikings in Minnesota this week, taking weather out of the equation. The Vikings are terrible against the pass, and Foles each week is a potential sneaky source of fantasy rushing points.
Chris Ogbonnaya, CLE, $4500 – The easiest way to pronounce the Browns’ running back is to pretend the “g” isn’t there. With Willis McGahee all but ruled out, it looks like the Browns will turn to Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker to handle the workload in the backfield. Ironically, Bobby Rainey was a Brown at the beginning of the season while Whittaker was a San Diego Charger. I’m going to hitch my wagon to Ogby this week, though, as he knows the offense, and more importantly, the blocking schemes better than Whittaker. The Browns get a great matchup against a porous Bears run defense that has been getting torched weekly.
Alfred Morris, WAS, $6200 – I wonder if the switch under center leads to Mike Shanahan reverting back to his Denver days with a workhorse running back who gets 25-plus carries this week. If that’s the case, Morris is in for a monster fantasy day. A few mediocre weeks have drastically dropped his price, and the Falcons have been terrible against the run lately. Look for Morris to flirt with 100 yards with at least one score this week.
Brandon Marshall, CHI, $8400 – I’m sticking with Marshall this week, as I think he’s a pretty safe play. Jay Cutler should be back under center, and Marshall has a better rapport with Cutler than Alshon Jeffery. Shutdown corner Joe Haden doesn’t play much in the slot, which is where Marshall lines up a lot, meaning Marshall will have to beat Buster Skrine. Look for Marshall to get back into the end zone after a two-game hiatus.
Torrey Smith, BAL, $6000 – I absolutely love Smith this week, and his price makes him even more attractive. The Lions have been solid against the run (sans last week), but Detroit can be thrown upon with a below average secondary. The Ravens will use Ray Rice to keep the Lions honest, but I also expect Baltimore to move the pocket around for Flacco to get some downfield throws. Look for Smith to hit a long one Monday night.
Julian Edelman, NE, $5500 – I have no explanation as to why this price tag is so low other than the price probably has earlier season production factored in. Given what he’s done lately, Edelman should be priced in the top-10 among wide receivers. Over his last three games, he has averaged eight catches for 92 yards and a touchdown. In FanDuel’s scoring format, Edelman’s recent production equates to 19.2 points per game, a huge total when considering his price.
Jimmy Graham, NO, $8200 – With a healthy Rob Gronkowski, there was some debate over the last few weeks as to who was the top tight end to take heading into the weekend’s matchups. With Gronkowski now out for the season, I have no trouble spending the money on Graham. Plus, while he won’t be at home, Graham is still playing this game in a dome.
Alex Henery, PHI, $5000 – He’s in a dome instead of a blizzard this week, and the Eagles shouldn’t have any problems moving the ball against the Vikings.
Carolina Panthers Defense, $6000 – I still don’t trust Geno Smith and he could have easily had a few interceptions last week against an inferior defense to Carolina’s. The Panthers are coming off a tough road loss and should blow out the Jets.
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.
Kirk Cousins, WAS, $5100 – I write this column every Wednesday night and was waiting patiently since Monday to hear who the Redskins would start at quarterback this week. The moment Cousins was named the starter early Wednesday there wasn’t a doubt in my mind I’d be writing about him later that night. My initial concern was that Robert Griffin would dress and potentially take over at some point during the game, but it was announced RG3 has been shut down for the season, meaning Rex Grossman will be the Cousins’ backup. It’s a great matchup against a porous defense, and there should be a few rushing yards for Cousins as well.
Rashad Jennings, OAK, $7000 – I get the feeling owners will shy away from Jennings this week considering the matchup, price and because he’s coming off a concussion. I also get the feeling had the Raiders been in the Super Bowl last Sunday he would have played. Jennings was one of the more effective fantasy backs before his injury and the Chiefs defense isn’t as dominant as they were earlier this season -- Kansas City’s 4.5 yards per carry mark against ranks 27th in the league. Marcel Reece will still get a few touches, but I expect Jennings to be back as the workhorse.
Toby Gerhart, MIN, $5600 – You should consider using Gerhart in all formats (tournaments, 50/50 or Heads Up) if Adrian Peterson is out. In limited work, Gerhart has averaged 7.9 yards per carry, and the Vikings have a solid offensive line. The Eagles defense isn’t anything to be too worried about, and Gerhart has been an effective pass-catcher during his career.
Dez Bryant, DAL, $8700 – Dez can seem to be an obvious pick, but when looking closer, I really think owners will take a pass on him. Inexplicably, the Cowboys gave him just four targets against the Bears (Romo shouldn’t have thrown a single pass; they should have run every down a la Georgia Southern vs. Florida), but that should change this week. I don’t think the Packers defense is anything special, and the Cowboys are in a must-win situation at home. If there’s anything to know about Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, it’s that he’ll be afraid to make the wrong choice this week and that would be ignoring Dez once again. He’s the third highest-priced wide receiver, and given his recent production, I don’t see many people using him, which makes him a great pot-odds play.
Pierre Garcon, WAS, $6800 – Garcon might be the ultimate gamble this week since we don’t know how if he’ll have a strong rapport with Cousins. In the lone game both started last season, Garcon finished six catches for 65 yards on 12 targets. Garcon has double-digit targets in seven straight games showing he’s still a big part of the game plan.
Mike Wallace, MIA, $6000 – Wallace had something of a dud Sunday, but I think it’s safe to say the weather had something to do with that. Over the previous two weeks, Wallace had averaged over 100 yards receiving with a touchdown in each of those games. The New England defense has been beaten by wide receivers recently, and I’d look for Wallace to get back on track at home.
Delanie Walker, TEN, $4800 – Walker is another player that I’d consider using in my 50/50 or Heads Up leagues. It’s become a broken record as to how bad the Cardinals have been against the tight end this season, and Arizona will be without the services of “The Honeybadger” this weekend. Ryan Fitzpatrick loves to go to his tight end, so look for Walker to get back on track this week.
Sebastian Janikowski, OAK, $5200 – If there’s one player in the NFL that I think can beat Matt Prater’s 64-yard field goal, it’s Seabass. He’s at home this week, and as I stated earlier, the Chiefs defense isn’t as good as everyone thinks.
Buffalo Bills Defense, $5200 – Buffalo gets to face off against the Jaguars this weekend. The Bills lead the league in sacks while ranking second in interceptions. It’s a plus matchup and should lead to a huge day from a defense that has racked up solid production against tougher opponents.