This article is part of our Run 'N' Shoot series.
DraftKings Millionaire contest is on hiatus this week, so I'm mixing things up a bit and heading over to FanDuel. The site may be different, but my concept is the same - finding some cheap, diamonds in the rough with good matchups so I can fill the rest of my roster with studs. First prize is $250,000, and while that's not a million, I won't complain too much if I win.
Eli Manning, $7,300: The last three weeks, the Titans have given up a six-pack to Ryan Fitzpatrick, 43 points to the Eagles and 33-204-1 to LeVeon Bell. Basically, the Titans defense is consistently misfiring on all cylinders. Among the inexpensive QBs, Eli is as good a bet as anyone to post 300 yards and three TD. Pairing him with a reasonably priced Odell Beckham coming off a quiet game at $8,200 is a nice tournament play.
Brian Hoyer, $6,700: The Colts defense just got lit up by Colt McCoy, Vontae Davis, their top corner, may miss this game with a concussion and Hoyer will be uber-motivated to play well and keep the starting job. Everyone will be off Hoyer after all the Manziel hoopla, too. Josh Gordon has yet to really break out, and it could happen this week. Hoyer plus Gordon is just $14,700, $800 less than the Manning-Beckham pairing I just touted.
Trent Richardson, $5,600: I hear you. I get it. But like it or not, the Colts are still giving Richardson touches, and he returns to Cleveland this week, so he'll be plenty motivated to have a good game. Unlike DraftKings, FanDuel is not a full PPR, either, so plodding running backs like Richardson who have the potential for a two-TD game on the ground on a high-scoring Colts offense just can't be ignored, particularly in GPP, where he'll have low ownership rates. Can't you just see T-Rich leaping into the stands in Cleveland, with the fans dumping beer on him?
Carlos Hyde, $5,000: The Raiders defensive performance last week was historically atrocious: five TD allowed on the Rams' first five possessions, starting a 52-0 blowout. We all want "in" on the Niners this week, but who should we play? Colin Kaepernick doesn't have enough upside, the wideouts are too inconsistent and Frank Gore is the opposite of what I like for a tournament. At minimum salary, let's hope a minimum-salary Hyde gets a touchdown or two in a second-half blowout.
Charles Johnson, $6,000: Last week was the Jets' last stand under Rex Ryan - at home, Monday night, prime time - yet they still lost. Going to Minnesota, I expect a big letdown. New York has been terrible against the pass all year, and an emerging Johnson should have a field day. Last week's line doesn't look appealing, but that was more a product of game flow (Vikings had two punt-block-TDs). Everyone will jump on Kenny Stills at $6,400 one week too late - save the $400 and go with Johnson.
Stedman Bailey, $6,300: In his last two games, Bailey has posted 7-89-1 and 5-100, and the latter was in just a half of action as the game turned into a blowout. This week, Bailey gets an atrocious Redskins secondary. The mainstream public won't be on Bailey because he plays for St. Louis. Heck, even FanDuel doesn't realize Bailey is the best Rams wideout, making Kenny Britt more expensive. Start Bailey and enjoy the long TD reception this week.
Kyle Rudolph, $5,200:Teddy Bridgewater has played much better recently, posting consecutive two-TD games after no multi-TD games in his first seven contests. Against a Jets defense that's been bad against the pass all year but good against the run, Rudolph has terrific upside for just $5,200. Either Johnson or Rudolph is going to return a huge profit this week, it's just a matter of which one scores.
Delanie Walker, $5,400: He's a bit under-the-radar on the Titans, but Walker has had some big games this year: 10-142-1 in Week 2, 5-84-1 in Week 4 and 5-155 in Week 12. He's had some clunkers, too, but upside is what you want in GPP, particularly when you can get that while saving salary. Against a bad Giants defense in a game that could be a shootout, and with Justin Hunter on the shelf, I'll have Walker in some lineups this weekend.
Antonio Gates, $5,600:Darrelle Revis will cover Keenan Allen, and Brandon Browner will be on Malcom Floyd. If only by default, Gates should be Philip Rivers' top target this week, yet his salary has gone down recently because he hasn't been finding the end zone. Expect that to change this week in a game the Chargers should be throwing a lot in the second half.
Shayne Graham, $4,500: The Saints are at home, a big favorite against a dreadful Panthers defense and Graham is the cheapest kicker available. Usually the cheapest kickers play on the Jaguars or Raiders, so even though Graham rarely kicks long FGs, getting a decent kicker on a good offense for the minimum seems like a no-brainer. I want some action on CAR-NO, too, as both offenses are capable and both defenses awful.
Broncos D/ST: Denver is just $200 above the minimum, at home, against a Bills offense that's been really bad over the past month. Buffalo's defense has masked the offense's flaws, but against Peyton, in Denver, the Bills defense won't hold up forever. When the Bills D cracks (that's when, not if), it won't take long for Kyle Orton to be playing catch-up against a Denver defense ranked in the top three in defensive efficiency most of the year. I see Denver as a top-5 fantasy defense this week (irrespective of salary) but the other defenses are much more expensive. Hop aboard.
Follow me on Twitter, @MarkStopa, and I'll post more DFS thoughts before the games.