WATCH: NFL PRICE CHECK – WEEK 14
The NFL season is winding down, but we still have a lot to digest in the last few weeks. Here are a few names from each price range, at every position I like this week.
Ben Roethlisberger @ BUF ($7,000) – With a bunch of top options bogged down with less-than-perfect matchups on Sunday, Big Ben’s owners have got to be smiling right now. Buffalo is no push-over, but it is easy to think it’s the Bills running into the bad matchup on Sunday and not the other way around. Roethlisberger completed more than 66 percent of his passes last week and saw the emergence of a new weapon in Ladarius Green, who could become a real weapon down the stretch.
Andrew Luck vs. HOU ($6,900) – Coming off a monster game on Monday night, Luck’s biggest problem is still any potential offensive line issues. But, the unit looked improved against the Jets, and as long as it can hold up against this Texans rush, Luck will be able to pick apart the Houston defensive backs. He and his receivers seemed to be there and healthy all at once for just about the first time all season, and as he gets on the same page with those weapons, his upside and floor are both increasing – and just in time, with three teams tied atop the AFC South at 6-6.
Joe Flacco @ NE ($5,600) – Someone with plenty of experience and success against the Pats in his career, he can make the trip up to Foxboro on Sunday and make some plays. He threw the ball 47 times last weekend, and with anything even approaching that kind of volume, he is bound to find some vulnerability on the back end of the Patriots’ secondary, especially if they are unable to generate the pass rush without blitzing. He turned his opportunity into 30+ fantasy points last weekend, more than enough value for the price.
David Johnson @ MIA ($9,800) – The most expensive player on the board, and for good reason: The Cards are, and have been for weeks, officially his team. They still have Carson Palmer and the same three wide receivers as last year, but Johnson is the focal point of the offense every week, continuing right through last Sunday, when he had 18 carries and nine catches on 12 targets. If any one player is worth paying this much of a premium for, it’s him. Not only does his volume keep his floor up, but he also has game-breaking talent that shines through.
Jordan Howard @ DET ($6,400) – The Bears just don’t have another go-to option on their offense, so he is going to get featured. He has shown enough talent to think trying to get him opportunities to make plays would be a good idea. He may not repeat the 32 carries, 117 yards and 3 TDs, but the fact that the Bears have no one else to turn to is definitely going to Howard in the mix.
Latavius Murray @ KC ($5,200) – With 19 or more carries in three of his last four games, and 15 total targets over that same stretch, he is getting plenty of usage, even if the Raiders are working in a couple of other backs regularly. He has 25 or more fantasy points in two of those four, with a floor in the mid-teens – not bad at this price for any kind of contest.
T.Y. Hilton vs. HOU ($7,500) – Again, it’s really all about the offensive line and whether Luck will have the time to see routes develop downfield in front of him. But if Monday night was an indicator of what they are capable of down the stretch, Hilton is someone you should definitely look to get on your squad. Allen and Moncrief scored four touchdowns Monday night, and that makes five games in a row for Moncrief, but eventually there is going to be a regression back to the norm. Scores are coming for the best receiver of the bunch, a guy who paced the corps this week with nine catches for 146 yards (on 10 targets), which means there is a still likely a huge upside game to be had for your fantasy team.
Michael Thomas @ TB ($6,700) – As much as Drew Brees and the Saints just dropped an epic dud at a moment that it killed fantasy owners all over, that doesn’t mean you should just write them off down the stretch, especially with two games against Tampa Bay in the next three weeks. Brees is not going to let this offense quit no matter what the playoff race looks like, and if you expect a bounce-back game from Brees, you should expect a bounce-back game from Thomas, who has been his best and most consistent option on the field for weeks now (at least five targets for the rookie in every game).
Malcolm Mitchell vs. BAL ($4,200) – Mitchell might the biggest beneficiary of the Gronk injury. He didn’t score in Week 13, but he did come away with eight catches for 82 yards on 10 targets. And most importantly, he clearly has the trust of both Josh McDaniels and Tom Brady. They have him out there running every type of route in the book, catching balls at and near the line of scrimmage and also stretching the field outside the numbers – and Brady is looking for him in all those situations. With no Gronk and playing a revitalized Ravens defense, the Patriots are going to need players to make big plays here, and Mitchell is a prime candidate to get the opportunity to do just that on Monday night.
Tyler Eifert @ CLE ($6,000) – With a couple of the most talented tight ends in the league likely out again, and playing on a Cincinnati team with so many injuries that Eifert is the No. 1 option for Dalton by default, Eifert’s upside is going to be as high as anyone’s. He is coming off a game with Philly where he only had two catches in a tough matchup, but that doesn’t mean you should shy away – it’s not a fluke that one of his two catches was in the red zone for a score. He’ll continue to be a weapon all over the field, including in close, and then on top of all that, he’s playing the Browns.
Ladarius Green @ BUF ($3,900) It’s tough to trust someone after you’ve only seen it on the field once, but what we saw Sunday is what a lot of people thought we would see coming into the season. If Green has managed to work his way back into Coach Tomlin’s good graces, there is a role to be had there. He is an athletic playmaker who could take serious advantage of that kind of opportunity, giving you plenty of upside for this price.
Minnesota Vikings @ JAX ($3,900) – It’s hard to spend up for the most expensive squad available when you have the Bengals playing the Browns for $400 less, but while the Vikings have been somewhat disappointing for fantasy purposes lately, we all know they are one of the more talented units in the league. And against Jacksonville, the Vikings should be able to render them one dimensional easily, stifling the run and forcing Bortles to the air even if the game remains close, where their rush can likely force him into a few mistakes.
San Diego Chargers @ CAR ($2,600) – If you’re looking for cheap upside, the Chargers could be it. They have put up double-digits in fantasy points in four of their last seven games, really doing a lot of things well over the past couple of months. At the same time, the Panthers just have not looked like the team we saw last year, drawing too many penalties and failing to put together strings of well-executed plays when they need to. They have allowed the rush to get to Cam, and he hasn’t been the same as a result. The Chargers could capitalize on just one or two mistakes to give you another very serviceable fantasy performance at their price.
I am a promoter at DraftKings and am also an avid fan and user (my username is theasquad) 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.