It’s easy to get into habits as far as building lineups and those habits aren’t always productive. I can hit on a cheap QB one week, stand proud in the winner’s circle and then spend the next four trying to recreate the magic.
In the meantime, I’ve missed out on great values in other positions and watched in awe/disgust as teams that rostered scat backs and third receivers were swimming in wins while I was wondering where all of my genius went.
While there is value in understanding what worked, it’s important to evaluate every slate independently, and that includes potentially changing up how you constructed your lineups and adjusting to what the league brings week after week. That’s the, well, value, of this Value Plays entry every week. While I’ll always be trying to identify extreme values at each position, some weeks it’s a stretch to fill the slots. Last week, for example, there was great value in QB, but this week it’s not there and I’ll be pivoting to RB/WR for some value.
Let me know who you like this week as values and give me all the feedback you desire on Twitter, where you can find me @JasonWalker_72. Thanks!
Andy Dalton ($5,700) – Always a gamble taking Dalton, especially against the Chargers, who seem to know to blitz Andy and get him out of Ye Ole’ Comfort Zone, which is where Dalton plays best. Still, his price is fairly low, the Bengals are favored by 3.5 in a 46 point total and the Chargers graded out below average last week in pass coverage.
Jameis Winston ($5,600) – Sooooooo, hey, Winston wasn’t awesome last week against the Titans. And that first pass was…..stinky. The result is a $400 drop in salary, which isn’t a red flag to me more than it is a signal that it’s a great time to buy! Winston against the Saints, who are injured beyond reason in the defensive secondary gives me the courage to jot his name down again. Being a 10 point dog is some concern, but if you’re going low, picking on the Saints may not be a bad place to go.
Nick Foles ($5,500) – Oy, you know I’m digging deep when I’m invoking a Rams QB here, but he’s 5.5K, the Skins’ are friendly to the opposing QB and if Gurley is out again this week, they’ll probably throw again. If he gets to 21 points again like he did against the Seahawks, that’ll do.
Chris Johnson ($3,800) – The Bears defense is shaky and CJ2K gets one more spin around the starting RB carousel. Even if he hits 11 points, he’s a value down here. He seems inline for 10-13 carries and a couple of catches which should get him there.
Lance Dunbar ($3,000) – Dunbar had eight catches against the Giants, but let’s not chase Week 1 here. Looking at this week, we can see he’s in a 55 point game total against the Eagles and the Cowboys, as we expected before the season, look primed to throw more. The Cowboys threw on 66% of their snaps, top ten in the league last week. Take Dez Bryant out of the picture, and I see a lot of check-downs and opportunities for Mr. Dunbar, putting him in good shape, even if he gets 2/3 of the action he got against the Giants, to make value here.
Danny Woodhead ($4,000) – Woodhead or Abdullah, Abdullah or Woodhead? I put Woodhead in here last week and both guys had sweet games. Both are good values again this week, but I’m plugging in the cheaper Woodhead, because the Chargers threw 42 times last week and they are going to lean on him, even in the red zone where he had six rushes and two targets, as they get comfortable trusting their rookie, Melvin Gordon.
Darren Sproles ($3,500) – It was a remember-me game in Week 1 for Sproles, who clearly has a prominent role in the three-headed running back situation in Philadelphia. His situation this week is the same as last, he gets a high game total (55) and should be called on to catch against the Cowboys. Also, the Eagles passed on 52 downs last week and 76.47% of their pass plays, the most in the NFL. He will get the touches, oh yes, he will get the touches.
Cole Beasley ($3,300) – Everybody will be on Beasley this week as the quest for the lost Dez statistics kicks in full gear. Beasley is a great PPR receiver, and the 55-point game total will draw a lot of action towards him. He’s not a sure thing, especially with Jason Witten, Dunbar and Terrance Williams there, but you could see a 7/70 game out of him, which would pay off in value even if none of those passes ended up in the end zone.
Brandon Coleman ($3,300) – I love Drew Brees this week against the Bucs, who were oh-so-generous to Marcus Mariota in his first game ever. The Saints defense is a mess, so even though the Saints are favored by 10, it seems like the defense will keep Brees on the field in this one, meaning he’ll have all game to throw, throw, throw. And they like to throw, passing on 48 plays and 71% of their snaps last week. Coleman, who had seven targets and a 4/41 game with a score, is being asked to soak up some of Jimmy Graham goodness, and he’ll have a lot of chances to do more of that against the Bucs.
Terrance Williams ($4,200) – Williams is also a solid value, even at 4.2K for all the same reasons, Dunbar and Beasley are solid values. Only pick one of them, but for the dollar values this week, they are all in play.
Markus Wheaton ($3,800) – Decent game total (45), seven targets in Week 1 and still no Martavis Bryant this week. The Steelers want to throw, and may do it as many as 40 times against the 49ers, which will give Wheaton ample opportunity to get the 13-15 points he needs to have a strong impact. Wheaton was out there for 66 snaps and 41 pass plays so he will get his chance again in Week 2.
Danny Amendola ($3,300) – I don’t love this, as he only got three targets against the Steelers last Thursday. However, he did participate in 34 snaps and 26 of those were pass plays. For comparison, Julian Edelman was in on 31 pass plays. The Bills graded out dead last in pass rush last week and Tom Brady will be able to pass at will if he has a substantial amount of time. The game total is solid (45) and it won’t take much for Danny to provide value at such a small number.
Heath Miller ($3,500) – Heath Miller played every offensive snap in Week 1, and is the picture of a cash game play at TE, non-Gronk division. In the pass happy Steelers offense, Miller was targeted 11 times and scored 16.4 points without getting into the end zone.
Vernon Davis ($3,000) – I had a 2.5K pure punt play in the Ravens’ Crockett Gilmore here, but I need to call on Davis at this ridiculously low price. I am buying into the narrative that he and Colin Kaepernick have gotten back on the same page and are going to look to rekindle the 2013 success they enjoyed. Last week, he was targeted six times in a game that was well in hand and the Niners throwing on only 40% of their snaps. This week, they are at Pittsburgh, who were very easy to pass against as Gronk and Chandler combined for four tight end touchdowns. At 3K, Davis is a super value.
Jordan Reed ($3,700) – I love Jordan Reed this week and moving forward and not just because he is a Florida Gator. Reed is one half of the Washington receiving corps (Pierre Garcon – 5K – is the other) and as such was targeted 11 times for a 7/63 game against the Dolphins in Week 1. The game score of 41 is low, but given Desean Jackson’s absence, Reed will be asked to shoulder the same or more in Week 2 against the Rams and should obliterate his 3.7K price point as he did when he scored 19.3 in Week 1.
St. Louis Rams ($3,100) – Only Jacksonville, Tampa and Houston are expected to have lower team total than Washington, which is who the Rams get to face this week. The Skins were wretched in the pass protection game against Miami and without Desean Jackson, have even fewer weapons to fire against a St. Louis defense that can rush the passer and take advantage of such a soft matchup.
Miami Dolphins ($3,300) – Miami’s opponent, the Jaguars, have the lowest team total of the week at 17.8 and the Dolphins are favored by six. It’s hard to pick on the Jags and Blake Bortles, who is from my high school alma mater in Oviedo, FL – school spirit runs deep. But sorry, Blake, the Dolphins will likely get 2-3 sacks, a couple of picks and has the dangerous Jarvis Landry returning kicks, making them a strong play in Week 2.