Whether you’re trying to catch a piece the Saints’ recent surge or going ride-or-die with Patrick Mahomes ($7,200), there are some big-name options worth considering for this Sunday’s 11-game fantasy football main slate.
However, if you invest in the big-name, big-salary options, you might find yourself stretched thin at a roster spot or two. Not only is it important to get the right star, it’s also vital that you get production from cheap players, too. To help get just the right plays at a reduced price, check out these players who are set up for success and available at affordable salaries.
QUARTERBACK($6,000 and under)
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI vs. DET, $5,600 — Trubisky didn’t have to do too much in Week 9 as the Bears rolled past the Bills by a comfortable margin. He still threw for 135 yards and a touchdown, but only had 9.0 DKFP. He had been rolling coming into the matchup with at least 21 DKFP in four straight, including three games with more than 30 DKFP. He totaled 14 touchdowns in those four games and had multiple passing touchdowns in each contest. He has been great at home all season, and he should be in a more competitive game against the Lions. Trubisky isn’t at Mahomes’ level, for sure, but he is progressing nicely and has proven to be a good fit for coach Matt Nagy’s offense.
Marcus Mariota, TEN vs. NE, $4,700 — Mariota is extremely cheap since his Monday Night Football showing didn’t impact his salary. He threw for 240 yards and two touchdowns, completing 21 of his 29 pass attempts against the Cowboys. He also ran in a touchdown to finish with an impressive 24.8 DKFP. It was his second-best mark of the season, surpassed only by his 34.36 DKFP when the Titans upset the Eagles in Week 4. Tennessee will look to pull a similar upset against the other Super Bowl team from last year as the Patriots come to town this week, and Mariota will need to step up and deliver like he did last week. He gets a good matchup, though, against the Patriots’ iffy secondary, and he doesn’t have to do much to offer great return at this affordable salary.
RUNNING BACK($5,000 and under)
Aaron Jones, GB vs. MIA, $5,000 — Jones had a critical fumble against the Patriots on Sunday Night Football and only finished with 9.6 DKFP, but it looks like he has claimed the job as the Packers’ lead back after 12 and 14 carries in two games coming out of the bye week. He ran well, finishing with 76 yards on 14 carries and hauled in 2-of-4 targets for 10 more yards. He offers much more upside than Jamaal Williams ($3,500) and Ty Montgomery was traded away to Baltimore, clearing out even more work for Jones. He gets a great matchup against the Dolphins at home to continue his emergence in Week 10.
Elijah McGuire, NYJ vs. BUF, $3,400 — The Jets used McGuire regularly as part of their backfield rotation in his rookie year last season, but he was sidelined by a foot injury this season and activated from IR to make his season debut last week against the Dolphins. McGuire had seven carries for just 30 yards but also was involved as a receiver, catching 3-of-5 passes for 37 yards on his way to 9.7 DKFP. McGuire has the potential to step into a much larger role with Bilal Powell (neck) out for the season and just Isaiah Crowell ($4,200) and Trenton Cannon ($3,100) to contend with for usage. McGuire has a high ceiling in a favorable matchup with the Bills.
WIDE RECEIVER($5,000 and under)
Tre’Quan Smith, NO at CIN, $4,600 — Smith has been the Saints’ second WR since Ted Ginn Jr. (knee) was placed on IR. Until Ginn’s potential return, Smith should continue to be a boom-or-bust play. Last week, Michael Thomas ($8,100) was heavily targeted, but Smith did still save his fantasy day with a touchdown. He has been pretty quiet since his two-touchdown game against the Redskins, but he is on the field and gets the opportunities to be a nice value option in a top-notch offense.
Cordarrelle Patterson, NE at TEN, $4,000 — I’m not sure if we can call Patterson a converted-receiver yet, but his value comes mostly from his role as a running back the past two weeks. He had 11 carries for 61 yards and a touchdown against the Packers and posted 13.8 DKFP. Patterson could stay involved in the running game even if Sony Michel ($5,300) returns, but he’s set up to be very successful at only $4K if Michel is out or remains limited by his knee injury.
Maurice Harris, WAS at TB, $3,900 — Harris has been starting for the Redskins, who have been beaten up at WR all season. He hadn’t produced much despite expanded opportunity until Sunday, when he hauled in 10-of-12 targets for 124 yards and 25.4 DKFP. He didn’t find the end zone but was a frequent target for Alex Smith ($5,300). With Paul Richardson (shoulder) on IR and Jamison Crowder (ankle; $4,200) still not able to return to practice yet, it looks like Harris could get lots of targets this week in what should be a great matchup for him against the porous secondary of the Buccaneers.
David Moore, SEA at LAR, $3,900 — Harris has a much better matchup than Moore, so I give him the slight edge. However, Moore is still a good cheap play worth a look as well. He had four touchdowns in his previous three games before Sunday. In each of those three contests, he had at least 13 DKFP but only managed 3.6 DKFP against the Chargers in Week 9. Even though it was a down week, he was targeted a season-high seven times and just failed to haul in the potential game-tying touchdown. The Rams’ secondary has been beatable lately, so look for Moore to join Harris as a solid sub-$4K producer.
TIGHT END($4,000 and under)
Trey Burton, CHI vs. DET, $3,900 — Burton has scored a touchdown in four of his past five games and has double-digit DKFP in each of those four contests. Burton only has seven targets in his two games since getting 11 targets against the Patriots, but he’ll likely be in for a larger workload with Allen Robinson II’s (groin) and Taylor Gabriel’s (leg soreness) statuses uncertain. Burton is Trubisky’s go-to receiver, and the two Bears can save you serious salary to spend in other slots.
Chris Herndon, NYJ vs. BUF, $3,100 — Herndon’s salary is still low, and he continues to grow in his role as the Jets’ top TE. The rookie had his three-game touchdown streak snapped in Week 9, but he still caught four passes for 62 yards. He has at least 10 DKFP in four of his past five games and has a nice connection with fellow rookie Sam Darnold ($4,500).
DEFENSE/SPECIAL TEAMS($2,800 and under)
IND vs. JAX, $2,800 — The Colts have been a solid defensive unit this season, picking up 21 sacks and 16 turnovers in eight games this season. When we last saw their opposing QB Blake Bortles ($4,900), he was doing his best impression of the Peter Man and turning the ball over at an alarming rate. If that trend continues, the Colts’ young and growing defense will be able to help the team get a big divisional win.
LAR vs. SEA, $2,400 — The Rams have plenty of difference-makers on defense, and they’ll be fired up to bounce back after getting beaten by the Saints. The Rams have averaged 9.8 DKFP per game in their four home games, and there is too much play-making potential and top-tier talent to overlook them at this salary even though they don’t have a great matchup as they host Seattle.
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.