Patrick Laird

There are just four weeks left in the NFL regular season, so every team is in action as they push to the finish. If you didn’t make your season-long fantasy playoffs, it’s a great time to switch over to DFS, or maybe it’s just another week to keep grinding since we’ve got under a month left in the regular season and time to keep building that bank. The Cowboys, Bears, Seahawks, Rams, Giants and Eagles are the only teams absent from the 26-team main slate since they’re playing in primetime, but there are still plenty of great options to consider.

As you build your roster and pinpoint the stars you’re using as centerpieces, take a look at these options to fill in your other spots, since they cost significantly less than the premium options but can provide great production at their price points.

QUARTERBACK

($6,000 and under)

David Blough, DET at MIN, $5,200 – Think all the way back to your Thanksgiving appetizers and remember how good Blough looked as the Lions almost knocked off the Bears. Blough threw two touchdowns and 280 yards against a stout Chicago defense and totaled 18.3 DKFP in his first NFL action. He’ll get a chance to build on that performance after Jeff Driskel (hamstring) landed on IR. He’ll take on the Vikings this week, who were shredded on Monday Night Football by Russell Wilson and the Seahawks. While Blough isn’t nearly on that level yet, he does have very good upside and big-play potential as he and the Lions try to play spoiler in Minnesota.

Drew Lock, DEN at HOU, $5,100 – Lock led his team to a comeback victory in his NFL debut, completing 18-of-28 passes for 138 yards, two touchdowns and 13.86 DKFP. While those stats aren’t eye-popping, he showed a strong connection with Courtland Sutton ($6,400) and scrambled for some first downs when needed while only turning the ball over once. He’ll get a much more favorable matchup this week against the Texans, who have allowed the third-most DKFP to opposing QBs this season. Lock has lots of room to grow, but he doesn’t have to do a ton to be worth the investment at barely over $5K.


RUNNING BACK

($5,000 and under)

Bo Scarbrough, DET at MIN, $4,500 – Scarbrough has clearly become the top back in Detroit and has looked strong the past few weeks. His lack of a touchdown has kept him under the radar, but he ran for 98 yards against the Redskins on 18 carries and racked up 83 yards against the Bears on Thanksgiving. He hasn’t been very involved in the passing game but still represents good value against the Vikings, who have allowed over 100 rushing plus receiving yards to opposing RBs in three of the past four weeks. Scarbrough has also had some nice runs called back due to penalty, so there is definitely some nice upside if he keeps getting so much work.

Patrick Laird, MIA at NYJ, $4,100 – Laird stepped up after Kalen Ballage ($4,200; leg) went down last week and will likely have a larger role this week depending on Ballage’s status. Laird was more effective than Ballage had been even though he only managed five yards on 10 carries. He did get a rushing touchdown and was also vitally involved in the passing game, catching 4-of-5 targets for 43 yards to total 16.8 DKFP. Whether Ballage is back or not, Laird should get the majority of the work against the Jets and makes a high-upside value play, especially with his involvement as a receiver out of the backfield.


WIDE RECEIVER

($5,000 and under)

Russell Gage, ATL vs. CAR, $4,800 – Since the Falcons traded Mohamed Sanu ($5,000) to the Patriots, Gage has become a huge part of the team’s passing game. Gage has been targeted at least nine times in three of five games since Week 8 including each of the past two weeks. He had eight catches for 76 yards and 15.6 DKFP in Week 12 against Tampa Bay followed by five catches for 52 yards, a touchdown and 16.2 DKFP in Week 13 against the Saints. He has a good matchup against the Panthers inconsistent secondary this week and will be a great play if Julio Jones ($7,500; shoulder) is held out. However, even if Jones plays, Gage has developed into a usable option with upside since the Falcons are relying so heavily on the passing game.

Mike Williams, LAC at JAX, $4,500 – Despite the Chargers’ struggles, Williams has topped 75 yards in three of his past four games including a massive 117-yard performance Sunday against the Broncos, which earned him a season-high 19.7 DKFP. The Jaguars secondary has been very beatable since trading Jalen Ramsey, and Williams should be able to keep finding success. He hasn’t found the end zone yet this season despite his involvement but will look to change that his Sunday in Jacksonville.

John Ross III, CIN at CLE, $4,400 – Ross started the year strong and looked to be on his way to a breakout year before landing on IR following a sternoclavicular injury in Week 4. Ross had 37.8 DKFP against the Seahawks in Week 1 and 24.2 DKFP against the 49ers in Week 2. Significantly, both those games came with starting QB Andy Dalton ($5,200), who just led the Bengals to their first win of the season in his return to the lineup. Ross was targeted at least six times by Dalton in each of his four starts before the injury and should find success against the Browns if he’s so heavily involved in his first game back.

Jakobi Meyers, NE vs. KC, $3,500 – The Patriots offense is still a work in progress, but Meyers has grown into a significant role despite being an undrafted free agent. He is working well ahead of first-round pick N’Keal Harry ($4,000) and played 61 of a possible 87 snaps on Sunday night against the Texans. He caught 3-of-7 targets for 46 yards and 7.6 DKFP after catching 4-0f-9 targets for 74 yards against the Cowboys. He’s a solid ultra-cheap flier against the Chiefs, in what should be a high-scoring game in Foxborough this weekend and has high upside if he keeps getting so many looks


TIGHT END

($4,000 and under)

Jonnu Smith, TEN at OAK, $3,100 – Smith will be the Titans’ starting TE the rest of the season with Delanie Walker (ankle) on IR, but Smith has fizzled out with just 48 yards and no touchdowns since a monster Week 8. He’s in a good matchup against the Raiders this week, and could bounce back after totaling zero yards in each of the past two weeks with no catches in Week 12 and two catches in Week 13. Smith is boom-or-bust, but there aren’t many cheap TE that offer much upside in good matchups like his.

Ian Thomas, CAR at ATL, $2,500 – Thomas could be the value play of the week at TE if Greg Olsen ($3,800; concussion) isn’t able to clear league’s concussion protocol in time for Sunday’s game. After Olsen left last week’s game against the Redskins, Thomas had four catches on four targets for 24 yards. Last season he filled in well while Olsen was out, and he has good potential to do the same if called upon this week in Atlanta.


DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS

($2,800 and under)

TEN at OAK, $2,600 – The Titans have surged into playoff contention with Ryan Tannehill ($5,800) at QB and strong play from their defense. Tennessee’s DST had 20 DKFP to help them to the win over the Colts last week and has recorded multiple sacks and at least one takeaway in five straight weeks. Couple that with the Raiders’ poor offensive performance the past two weeks against the Jets and Chiefs, and the Titans are my favorite bargain defense of the week.

TB vs. IND, $2,300 – The Bucs’ defense has turned up the pressure and recorded 11 sacks in the past two weeks. They forced four turnovers Sunday against the Jags and posted 23 DKFP. The Colts were beaten and beaten up by the Titans last week and come in dealing with multiple injuries at key skill positions. The Bucs will look to take advantage and continue their own strong finish to the season.


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I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is Z.Thompson) and may sometimes play on my personal account in the games that I offer advice on.  Although I have expressed my personal view on the games and strategies above, they do not necessarily reflect the view(s) of DraftKings and I may also deploy different players and strategies than what I recommend above. I am not an employee of DraftKings and do not have access to any non-public information.