This article is part of our Run 'N' Shoot series.
Odell Beckham, Jr's catch was more than just a catch. His catch is the reason we watch sports. It's why we keep watching games late into the fourth quarter with the outcome long decided. It's why we're wiling to stay in front of the TV for 10 hours every Sunday (and a few hours on Monday and Thursday) for four months straight. It's not just that we're junkies - we're constantly waiting for that play, that moment, when we get to see something we've never seen before.
Few players in recent sports history have been able to deliver that moment. Few players made us worry we'd miss something epic if we turned our heads away from the screen. Barry Sanders made us feel that way. Randy Moss. Adrian Peterson in 2012. Looking to other sports ... Barry Bonds. Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, circa 1998. Michael Jordan. Larry Bird. There might be more, but the list is short.
Last Sunday, ODB joined that list. No, he might not have a Hall of Fame career like those other guys. But admit it - you're going to watch Giants-Jaguars closer than you would have, wondering what ODB will do next. Whether you're a Giants (or, gasp, Jaguars) fan or not, that feeling is awesome.
Sometimes a player's MVP argument is bolstered when his team falls apart without him. Montee Ball is just like that - except exactly the opposite. Seriously, it's crazy how bad Ball looked throughout September when Ronnie Hillman and C.J. Anderson have both looked so fantastic given a chance to start. Let's call Ball the LVP.
Sensing the rush and avoiding big hits is a skill for a QB. Peyton Manning owns that skill in spades. On the other end of the spectrum, though, is there anyone worse than Robert Griffin III? The dude just doesn't feel the rush coming, ever. "You're 300 pounds and running at me full speed? Here, let me stand still in the pocket and allow you to pound my lanky, fragile body into the turf."
If you're a fan of the ten or so NFL teams who need a QB, do you want your team to acquire Griffin this offseason? Even with Griffin's pedigree and that dreamy, 2012 season still in our minds, and even as I try to convince myself Griffin's mechanics could improve with coaching and his confidence could return in a new system, I can't get past Griffin's complete lack of pocket presence. For me, you either have that skill, you're out of the league, or you're David Carr.
Speaking of David Carr, isn't it ironic how he was known for being a rag doll in the pocket, while his little brother, Derek, is second in the NFL in sack ratio (behind only Peyton)? May all little brothers learn from big brother's mistakes so well.
16 teams reside in the AFC. 11 of them have winning records, and 12 of them have a positive point differential, with all 12 being +12 or higher. 12 out of 16! The NFC, meanwhile, has just 5 such teams. Why is the NFC so much worse this year? Look at the quarterback play throughout the conference. Drew Brees hasn't had a Drew Brees season. Colin Kaepernick was supposed to be a star, yet can't seem to put it all together. It was funny listening to Jim Harbaugh call him "great" after Sunday's game ("great with a capital G") - Harbaugh realizes nobody agrees, right? Without Calvin Johnson playing like Megatron, Matthew Stafford's Lions have the NFC's worst offense - dead last in the conference in points scored. Jay Cutler is this generation's Jeff George - strong arm, entertaining, perennial loser. Robert Griffin III has been so awful, he's getting benched for Colt McCoy. Kirk Cousins has been even worse - he's still behind Griffin on the depth chart. Drew Stanton and Shaun Hill have jobs - as starters. Cam Newton is more Clark Kent than Superman, while his 2013 WRs, Brandon LaFell and Steve Smith Sr., look just fine on other teams. The conference has been so bad at QB, Mark Sanchez is viewed as something of a savior.
The Patriots are the NFL's best team, and I think they'll prove it in Green Bay on Sunday. The NFC is so watered-down, though, that I'd still pick the Packers to win it all.
OK, enough gibberish. I know several of you are reading this for my DFS take (and I do appreciate the compliments via Twitter, @MarkStopa). Let's get to it. Make sure to check out my Twitter feed up until Sunday, too - I'll post more DFS thoughts there.
I explained my strategy in detail last week (so check that out if you missed it). Without repeating myself, the key to a contest like Millionaire is to find one or two cheap players who will put up 20-30 fantasy points. Easier said than done, yes.
At present, I've compiled 50 lineups for DraftKings Millionaire contest. Here are a few of the cheaper options I find myself putting into lineups:
Alex Smith, $6,200: If the Broncos get a big lead (not hard to imagine), Smith will be throwing far more than normal, and it costs almost nothing to pair him with his targets. Dwayne Bowe is just $3,900 (and will score a TD eventually), Travis Kelce $4,300. It's rare to be able to bankroll players this cheaply in what's sure to be a high-scoring game. (Contrast this to the meaningful players in NE-GB and you'll see what I mean.)
Philip Rivers, $6,000: The Ravens give up almost nothing on the ground yet are near the bottom of the NFL in pass defense. Rivers was over $8K just a few weeks ago, yet now he's cheaper than Alex Smith, Andy Dalton, Josh McCown, and Michael Vick, among others. Keenan Allen is a little pricier than I'd like at $6K, but $12K total for a top QB and top WR isn't bad at all. (For comparison, Eli Manning + ODB and Brian Hoyer + Josh Gordon are both $13,800.) And if you like an Antonio Gates bounce back, Rivers + Gates is even cheaper.
Brian Hoyer, $5,500: Lots of guys like Josh Gordon at $8,300, and if you're one of them, ask yourself - don't you almost have to like Hoyer at this price? The Bills don't allow much on the ground, so if Gordon has a good game, it's not hard to see Hoyer throwing for 275(+) yards and 2-3 TDs. At this price, that's all you'd need.
Shaun Hill, $5,000: I really like Tre Mason at $4,600 this week, but what if I'm wrong? We know the Rams will score against the Raiders (particularly with Oakland content, having finally won a game), but what if the Rams scores come through the air, not the ground? Pairing Hill with $3,900 Kenny Britt, $3,000 Jared Cook, or both, lets you play studs at virtually every other position and only forces you to be right about one thing to have a huge week - the Rams passing game. Considering last week's Millionaire winner started Robert Woods (yes, you have to be right about something totally off-the-radar to win), crazier things have happened.
Lamar Miller, $4,500: Everyone knows the Jets weakness is against the pass, not the run. But maybe that's just what we need to drive down Miller's ownership rates. Teams have been running a bit against the Jets, too - especially late in blowouts.
Latavius Murray, $3,800: Everyone saw what Murray did against the Chiefs. The only concerns here are whether he plays (concussion), and if he does, that he'll be owned in a lot of lineups.
Roy Helu, $3,400: Think game flow. Colts get a big lead, at home, Alfred Morris takes a seat on the bench, Redskins throw the whole second half. Colt McCoy isn't exactly a downfield thrower, either. Remember, DraftKings is a full PPR.
Terrance West, $3,200: Little distinguishes Isaiah Crowell and West at this point; Crowell just happened to score the TDs last week. Yet Crowell is $4,600 and West $3,200. If I'm wrong on the Browns passing game (Buffalo did give up two TDs to Chris Ivory earlier this year), West is the best cheap option I see at running back.
Mike Wallace, $4,500: Faces the Jets. On Monday night. And he's $900 cheaper than Jarvis Landry, who lacks the upside you need for a tournament like this. I might have Wallace in more lineups than any other player.
Charles Johnson, $4,000: Johnson went 3-52-1 on 11 targets last week (11!) and had 6-87 the week before. Carolina's secondary has been a mess all year. 7-90-1 from Johnson, for just $4k, would be the ultimate way to troll Cordarelle Patterson owners, too.
Kenny Britt, $3,900: Britt is the Rams top wideout and has a good matchup. He's a fine salary-saving play even if your QB isn't Hill.
Dwayne Bowe, $3,900: Bowe will score a TD eventually, right? Why not this week, in a game the Chiefs should be throwing more than usual? 6-80-1 is all we need to turn a nice profit here.
Markus Wheaton, $3,200: I obviously prefer Antonio Brown and Martavis Bryant, but Brown is $9K and Bryant $4,700. Wheaton scored a TD in both of Ben's 6-TD games, and playing at home again, he's a cheap way to get "in" on the Steelers passing game. I do have Bryant in more lineups than Wheaton, but if you're scraping the bottom of the barrel, this is the best way to get a cheap TD.
Donte Moncrief, $3,100: Moncrief had an uninspiring 4-38 last week, but he got more than half the snaps in a game for the first time Reggie Wayne wasn't hurt. If I have one roster spot to fill and only have $3,100 to spend, Moncrief is on the short list of guys I'll be putting in my lineup. Remember, we'll never know (until it's over) when the Colts coaches decide to start playing Moncrief full time.
Heath Miller, $3,800: The Steelers offense is much better at home, where Ben enjoyed both of his 6-TD games, and the Saints defense offers little resistance.
Charles Clay, $3,400: Someone from Miami will have a 2-TD game. Why can't it be Clay? Owning guys who play on Monday night is fun, too - especially if you're in the cash.
Jordan Cameron, $3,100: If you can't afford Gordon, Cameron is the far cheaper way to bet on the Browns TDs coming through the air. Just make sure he's active (concussion).
Jaguars D/ST, $2,300: I don't love the Jaguars defense, don't get me wrong. But this defense has been a tad feisty of late, racking up five sacks last week. The number that got my attention here, though, was the point spread - the Giants are favored by less than a field goal. That alone makes the Jags a mediocre option (think a 4 on a 1 to 10 scale), and this is the best price I've seen for a defense that's a mediocre option in several weeks. Look at it this way - defense is a crapshoot, and this one will save you almost $1,000 over most of the others.