Across all positions there is a minimum cost you must pay to start a player. For QBs the lowest possible salary is $5,000, while all FLEX positions are capped at $3,000.
To get a sense of what’s available at minimum prices; only Charlie Whitehurst, Kyle Orton, and Drew Stanton are priced at $5,000 and project as starters this week. With this in mind, below are some value options to consider on the low-end of the price spectrum for players at their respective positions.
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Alex Smith, KC @ SF, $6,400 – Smith has been on a tear as of late with 3 TDs in each of his last 2 games, and an efficient QB rating of 140. While his limited passing attempts tend to hurt his value, the emergence of a dominant run game should benefit him. If he can continue to convert on his redzone opportunities he would be a bargain, priced outside of the top 20 QB salaries. Similar to Steve Smith last week, this Smith also faces a team that gave up on him. Headed back to San Francisco for the first time since being traded in 2012, he has plenty of motivation for a big day. He also is coming off back-to-back blowout wins where the offense has been firing on all cylinders. Smith also comes at a $2,800 discount from top option, Peyton Manning.
Kelvin Benjamin, CHI @ CAR, $4,800 – Recently named the NFL offensive rookie of the month, the Panthers look to have found the playmaker they were desperately seeking when they selected Benjamin at 28th overall. With the lack of WR talent on Carolina’s roster, he was truly thrown into the mix from day one. At 6’5″ he provides Cam Newton with the biggest redzone threat he’s had since he entered the league, and Benjamin has produced 3 scores and 329 yards on 21 catches so far. He nearly added his 4th TD of the year last week, but could not keep two feet in bounds. Benjamin provides at ton of upside as the 35th overall WR salary, and has a nice home matchup against the Bears who just surrendered 4 receiving TDs last week.
Bishop Sankey, CLE @ TEN, $4,700 – In Sankey’s first career home game during Week 2 he carried the ball only twice. His return home this week should be an entirely different story. On Wednesday, Coach Ken Whisenhunt publically stated that Sankey will be getting more reps, especially early on. With the Titans averaging just over 11 points the past 3 games, Sankey could provide the offense with a much needed spark. Assuming he gets 15-20 touches against Cleveland, he would emerge as a nice value as the 32nd overall RB salary. He can be owned at $3,100 less than Matt Forte or LeSean McCoy.
Andrew Hawkins, CLE @ TEN, $3,500 – Hawkins has quietly produced consistent PPR numbers in his first 3 games and continues to be overlooked as the 54th WR salary this week. As the Browns slot receiver, he has received double-digit targets each week and has never caught less than 6 balls or posted fewer than 70 yards. Heading to Tennessee, there is no reason his production should plummet against a defense that has given up 100 points over its last 3 games. Expect Hawkins to continue his effective play this week at a price $4,700 cheaper than the top WR option, Calvin Johnson. He is still looking for his first TD of the year, but his high catch volume alone is enough to make him a strong PPR value.
Owen Daniels, BAL @ IND, $3,300 – When Baltimore acquired Daniels this offseason, he figured to have a complimentary role to Dennis Pitta, who was the unquestioned starter. In Week 3, Pitta went down with a potentially career-threatening injury and will be done for the year, at the very least. In his absence last week, Daniels was involved pretty frequently being targeted 6 times. Moving forward he figures to take on a greater role, especially in the redzone. Another benefit to Daniels is that the Colts have struggled against TEs this year, already yielding 4 TDs to the position. As the 16th priced TE, Daniels could be a nice plug-in if you are strapped for cash.
Five More to Consider
Mike Glennon, TB @ NO, $5,500
Michael Floyd, ARI @ DEN, $5,300
Travis Kelce, KC @ SF, $3,000
Lorenzo Taliaferro, BAL @ IND, $3,000
Darrin Reaves, CHI @ CAR, $3,000