Even with only 11 games on the main slate this Sunday, there should be plenty of fantasy football goodness in the penultimate week of the regular season. For the only time during this year, the NFL has three games on Saturday, including some of the best matchups of the week as the Bucs host the Texans, the Patriots take on the Bills and the 49ers and Rams both try and bounce back from tough losses last week. With those six teams off the main slate along with the Chiefs, Bears, Vikings and Packers, you may need to explore some of the lesser-used rosters to find the best plays of the week.
Since the options are a little bit limited, you’ll need to be sure to spend all your salary cap wisely. To help you find the best value plays, check out my favorite affordable options at each position listed below.
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Drew Lock, DEN vs. DET, $5,600 – The Drew Lock hype train got a little de-railed in the snow last week in Kansas City, as the Broncos’ offense bogged down and the rookie finished with 7.62 DKFP going 18-for-40 for 208 yards. Two weeks ago in better conditions, though, he shredded Houston for 309 yards, three touchdowns and 27.86 DKFP. I think he’ll bounce back this week against a Detroit defense that has allowed the third-most DKFP to QB this season and was torn apart by Jameis Winston and the Bucs’ backup WRs last week. As a rookie, it isn’t surprising Lock will have his ups and downs, but I think he’ll bounce back strong after last week’s letdown at Arrowhead.
Dwayne Haskins Jr., WAS vs. NYG, $4,700 – Haskins is at home against the woeful Giants’ defense coming off his best game of the season, so I’m surprised he’s still such an affordable option under $5K. Last week against the Eagles, Haskins had his best game as a pro, finishing with 20.04 DKFP by throwing for 261 yards and two touchdowns and adding 26 yards on the ground. He actually had his team ahead 27-24 late in the game and was driving for a potential winning touchdown before fumbling on the final play of the game and having it returned for a touchdown. Facing the Giants will be a good test of growth for Haskins since he saw his first NFL action against them back in Week 4 and looked lost. He should be able to vastly improve on those results and is a good way to save salary to spend on stars in other spots.
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Boston Scott, PHI vs. DAL, $4,000 – Since the Eagles are extremely short-handed at WR, Scott has gotten more involved in the passing game as a receiver out of the backfield. Last week, he hauled in all seven of his targets for 39 yards and added 26 rushing yards on six carries on his way to 13.5 DKFP. Scott had six catches for a very nice 69 yards and a touchdown against the Giants for 24.8 DKFP the previous week. Even if Jordan Howard ($5,200; shoulder) does return, Scott’s role as a pass-catching back and change-of-pace option should be fairly secure. Depending on game flow, he could need to be on the even more if the Eagles fall behind early and have to throw more to keep up with the Cowboys on Sunday.
Myles Gaskin, MIA vs. CIN, $3,800 – I’m not hopping off the Patrick Laird ($4,600) bandwagon entirely, but it’s hard to ignore Gaskin under $4K. He shared time pretty evenly with Laird last week and was more effective, running for 43 yards on nine carries and adding 29 yards on a pair of receptions. The rookie seventh-rounder from Washington had just 11 carries all season before last week but could be set up for a strong finish with a great matchup this week against the Bengals. While Laird has had good numbers as a receiver, he hasn’t gotten much going on the ground, so it wouldn’t surprise me if Gaskin actually gets more work and has better numbers against Cincinnati.
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
Golden Tate, NYG at WAS, $4,800 – Tate has only had one catch in each of the past two weeks, but the Giants are hopeful they’ll get Daniel Jones ($5,900; ankle) back under center which should get Tate more attention. Tate had at least six targets in all seven games he played with Jones and averaged 5.1 catches on 8.1 targets for 64.3 yards in those seven contests while getting into the end zone four times. Tate gets a great matchup against Washington and has a high ceiling if Jones is back under center.
Greg Ward, PHI vs. DAL, $4,200 – With Alshon Jeffery on IR and Nelson Agholor ($4,600; knee) ailing, the Eagles have given Ward more work. He caught last week’s game-winning touchdown as part of his seven-catch, 61-yard performance that resulted in 19.1 DKFP. Ward had nine targets in each of the past two weeks and should stay very involved, especially if Agholor is out this week. Like Boston, Ward could get more looks if the Eagles have to throw more than usual.
Steven Sims Jr., WAS vs. NYG, $4,000 – Sims is an undrafted rookie out of Kansas who has taken over for Trey Quinn ($3,000; concussion) the past two weeks as Washington’s primary slot receiver. Sims was targeted by Haskins 11 times against the Eagles and hauled in five catches for 45 yards and his first touchdown of the year on his way to 15.5 DKFP. Sims has good speed and big-play potential and gets a nice matchup against the Giants’ secondary. He’ll try to continue to build his solid rapport with Haskins and earn his way into a spot next season.
DaeSean Hamilton, DEN vs DET, $3,200 – After a strong finish to his rookie year last season, Hamilton has been a huge disappointment for the Broncos. He has just 17 catches in his 14 games and is averaging under 3.0 DKFP per contest. However, his empty numbers haven’t been for lack of opportunities, and he finishes the season with great matchups against the Lions this week and the Raiders next week. Hamilton has been targeted 16 times in three games since Lock took over at QB, including a season-high nine times last week against the Chiefs. Hamilton is a high-risk play, but there is a high ceiling if he finally gets in sync with Lock.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
Jonnu Smith, TEN vs. NO, $3,800 – Smith has filled in fairly well overall for Delanie Walker (ankle) despite some inconsistent weeks. He has double-digit DKFP the past two weeks after catching all five of his targets for 60 yards against the Texans and adding a 57-yard run on a toss play. It was the longest run by a TE in 43 years and shows how dynamic of a playmaker Smith can be when he gets opportunities. As the Titans fight to keep their playoff hopes alive, they’ll need Smith to keep stepping up against the Saints.
Noah Fant, DEN vs. DET, $3,700 – Fant had to leave last week’s game against the Chiefs with a shoulder injury but X-rays were negative, and he returned to finish with 56 yards on two catches. Like Smith, Fant can rip off big chunks of yards and is developing a solid connection with his new QB. As long as the shoulder injury and previous foot and hip issues don’t keep him out of this week’s game against the Lions, Fant has a very high ceiling even though he’s a bit riskier than Smith since the offense he’s in is less established.
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
WAS vs. NYG, $2,800 – The Redskins’ defense did give up 31 points last week, snapping a streak of three straight games of allowing 21 or fewer points. Typically, they make enough big plays to be a fantasy option and have multiple sacks in 10 straight weeks and 10 forced turnovers in the past five weeks.
NO at TEN, $2,700 – The Saints’ defense bounced back after allowing 48 points to the 49ers by holding the Colts to just seven on Monday Night Football. They didn’t force a turnover but had a sack and 5.0 DKFP. New Orleans’ defense has stepped up on the road this season and has produced at least 10 DKFP in five straight road games with 68 DKFP total in those five road games.
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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.