Every week the matchups, rotations and price points change, leaving us with new decisions on where to spend and where to save. This week is no different as we see a few really strong options at QB under the $7K price range and a pair of high-priced MVP candidates who might not be in the best spot for Week 14.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
Cream of the Crop
Russell Wilson, Seattle (at BAL) – $6300
Wilson has 12 total touchdowns over the past three games. I’m not typically bullish on players who are “hot” because I think most of that is noise, but here’s why I like Wilson: his price is still quite low and he’s facing one of the league’s worst pass defenses—the second-worst, actually, after adjusting for opponent salaries. This is one of a few cash-game options this week, but be cognizant of Wilson’s probable high ownership in tournaments. I do like the idea of rolling out Wilson alone in GPPs when most will stack him with Doug Baldwin.
Jameis Winston, Tampa Bay (vs NO) – $5500
The Ravens have the leagues second-worst pass defense, but we all know who is worst—and by a mile. Winston has outperformed his salary in every single game of his career thus far. I’d normally be a little wary of Winston in cash games, but I think the price and matchup might let you get away with it.
Tyrod Taylor, Buffalo (at PHI) – $5400
I think a lot of people are going to like Taylor over Winston, but I have the Buffalo quarterback just a notch below the rookie right now. The Eagles’ defense, although weak on the outside, is far superior to New Orleans. Although Taylor can produce via his legs—and thus doesn’t need the Bills to score a lot of points for his fantasy upside—Buffalo is still over five implied points behind the Bucs right now.
Carson Palmer, Arizona (vs MIN) – $6500
This is a poor matchup and I just don’t care. Palmer’s salary is down $600 from two weeks ago, yet he continues to produce at a ridiculous rate. The Cards are projected at just shy of 27 implied points and we know Palmer accounts for a very high market share of their scoring. I do like his play more in GPPs than cash games, though.
Middle of the Pack
Eli Manning, NY Giants (at MIA) – $6100
Manning is never in play in cash games, for me, because he’s so dependent on Odell Beckham for his production. If Beckham is stopped or even limited, Manning typically won’t have a big day because he just doesn’t have any other worthwhile weapons. The Manning/Beckham pairing is an obvious one for GPPs, though.
Andy Dalton, Cincinnati (vs PIT) – $6600
I initially had Dalton a tad higher, but there are a couple potential red flags. This matchup is good, but Dalton’s salary has increased because of it—up $500 from two weeks ago. Second, this is Cincy’s second meeting with Pittsburgh—Dalton scored all of 11 points in the first one—and defenses historically play better against opposing quarterbacks in the second meeting of a season.
Ryan Tannehill, Miami (vs NYG) – $5200
Even though the projected total in this game is modest at 46.5 points, I like the potential for it to turn into a shootout. Both offenses should have some success throwing the ball, and with the game currently a pick ‘em, they could end up going back and forth trying to match one another. I’m not in love with Tannehill’s “stackability” since I don’t love Jarvis Landry in tournaments, but it does appear that rookie DeVante Parker is now a legitimate option.
Blake Bortles, Jacksonville (vs IND) – $6000
Bortles has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight of the last nine games. Jacksonville actually has a very reliable passing game in terms of attempts, so it’s unlikely Bortles will throw the ball fewer than 30 times or that his No. 1 receiver—Allen Robinson—won’t get a healthy dose of targets.
Rest of the Field
Cam Newton, Carolina (vs ATL) – $7500
A lot of people will be on Newton this week just because he’s playing so well of late. I don’t necessarily think it’s a bad option per se, but I don’t love the price. Buying Newton means forgoing a cheaper quarterback a bunch of savings. I currently have Russell Wilson projected almost exactly the same as Newton, but he’s $1,200 cheaper, for example. Carolina is projected at 26.8 implied points right now.
Ryan Fitzpatrick, NY Jets (vs TEN) – $5400
I’m very torn on Fitzpatrick. On one hand, I really like him as a player and I specifically like his receivers. When he’s throwing, it’s typically to two players in Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker who are both underrated and underpriced. There’s an obvious double-stack situation there. On the other hand, the Jets are 7.5-point favorites and I fear they’ll be very conservative once they get a lead.
Alex Smith, Kansas City (vs SD) – $5100
Ready for this? The Chiefs are currently the top-projected offense. I don’t get it, and I still don’t like Smith very much, but he’s on here just because of that and his price tag.
Tom Brady, New England (at HOU) – $7800
I’m not going to be on Brady this week. It’s not that I think he can’t overcome this matchup; he can, although it would sure be a lot easier with Gronk. Rather, I don’t like his upside relative to the cost. We aren’t getting much of a discount here, and for that reason, it will likely be a complete fade for me.
Jonathan Bales is the author of the Fantasy Sports for Smart People book series, and most recently Fantasy Football for Smart People: How to Win at Daily Fantasy Sports.
Follow him @BalesFootball.