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.
Drew Brees, NO, $10000 – I spent the big bucks in this spot last week by using Peyton Manning, which paid off nicely. I like Brees here as the Saints are still playing for seeding and should be hungry coming off two straight losses. Brees will be comfortable at home and I think his floor this week is 300 passing yards and two passing touchdowns.
LeSean McCoy, PHI, $9400 – I’m going to spend big again at running back as well, going with Shady who has an excellent matchup against the Cowboy’s injury-riddled defense. McCoy has 100 yards from scrimmage in six straight games and has had multi-touchdown games in two of his last three contests. Look for him to be busy this week, especially if the game turns out into a blowout with Tony Romo (back) out.
Jonathan Grimes, HOU, $4500 – He’s already been named the starter by the Texans and the matchup against the Titans doesn’t worry me. The rest of the Texans backfield is banged up, so Grimes should get all the work he can handle. I’m not expecting him to go nuts, but if I’m going to use other high-priced players, I’m going to need to find some cheaper players with upside.
Marques Colston, NO, $6000 – As I always do, I’m going to pair up my quarterback with one of his main targets. The Saints like to spread the ball around, but Colston has seen plenty of looks lately with double-digit targets in three straight games. Plus, weather won’t be a concern in this tilt against the Rams.
Jordy Nelson, GB, $6000 – With Rodgers back, Nelson looks like a tremendous value. The Bears defense has given up huge yardage and scoring the last few weeks, and I fully expect that trend to continue this week. Over 100 yards and a touchdown are easily attainable here.
Mike Wallace, MIA, $6000 – I really like Wallace this week. He’ll be at home against the Jets’ Antonio Cromartie, who has looked terrible this season. Wallace has put together much better games at home and shouldn’t have to worry about the weather. Look for Wallace to get behind the Jets defense and haul in a long touchdown.
Jimmy Graham, NO, $7600 – Between injuries and inconsistent play, the tight end position has been a mess this season. I’ll pair Graham with Brees, as I think there’s a pretty high floor with these two and Colston. Odds are pretty high either Graham or Colston find the end zone and there’s always the possibility they both do.
Graham Gano, CAR - $5000 – Gano disappointed with a low score total last week, but he should post better results this week in Atlanta. Kickers are typically difficult to predict, and I’ll always take a good matchup in a dome.
Miami Defense, $5000 – For the minimum price, I’m going to take a home team with motivation against an inconsistent rookie quarterback. The Dolphins have a solid pass rush, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Geno Smith turning the ball over multiple times.
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.
Aaron Rodgers, GB, $9000 – Given the high price tag and the chance that there’s some rust, owners will shy likely away from Rodgers this week. The Bears defense is terrible, and Rodgers could have all his weapons back if Randall Cobb returns. This should also be a high scoring game, so look for Rodgers to throw it often.
Knile Davis, KC, $4500 – This is total crapshoot considering it’s not certain Jamaal Charles sits this weekend. There’s speculation that the starters will play some, which means Davis won’t get a whole game of carries. Still, he passes the eye test and should see the majority of work from the Chiefs’ backfield.
Joe Banyard, MIN, $4500 – This is the same guy who was just released a couple of weeks ago after Matt Asiata had his three touchdown game. It looks like Banyard is going to be the starter and only healthy running back on the Vikings’ roster. I like Grimes better as a safer play, but there’s upside here if Banyard is given a good amount of touches.
Antonio Brown, PIT, $7600 – I think owners will see the matchup with Cleveland and worry about Joe Haden shutting down Brown. However, the NFL is a fluid league and Haden may not play or at least won’t be 100 percent. Throw in that Brown had a monster game earlier this season with Haden on him (6-92-1) and he’s an interesting play in tournament formats.
Junior Hemingway, KC, $4500 – I don’t know that I’d play both Hemingway and Davis on the same team, but I really think one of them makes a fantasy impact. It looks like Hemingway could be the top wide receiver for the Chiefs this week with them resting their starters and Dwayne Bowe (concussion) already ruled out. Hemingway is a sneaky play but there’s a very low floor here.
Roddy White, ATL, $5900 – White finally looks healthy after playing less than 100 percent and missing time earlier this season. He now has over 400 receiving yards and two touchdowns in his last four games. The matchup against Carolina isn’t easy, but Matt Ryan should heavily target White once again.
Timothy Wright, TB, $4800 – Wright is coming off a subpar game (four catches for 27 yards), but he had scored in each of his previous two games. While the Saints have a solid defense, they should get ahead in this game, forcing Mike Glennon to throw more than Tampa Bay would like.
Caleb Sturgis, MIA, $5000 - This game seems like it could be a blowout and I don’t see Miami having too much trouble moving the ball. Sturgis is at home with a good matchup and weather won’t be a problem.
San Diego Defense, $5300 – I realize I’ve talked up a couple of players on the Chiefs, but if you don’t want to gamble with them, I think the Chargers defense is in play. Conceivably this game could mean a lot for San Diego and the Chiefs could roll out a bunch of inexperienced players.