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.
Looking for a different position? Check out the rest of the positional targets:
Everyone has a position they feel most comfortable selecting in daily fantasy football. For me, it’s wide receiver.
I think that’s because wide receiver is the one position at which I value talent nearly as much as opportunity. Of course a player can’t produce if he isn’t getting targets, but how efficiently he can produce fantasy points on those targets—especially how well he converts red zone looks into touchdowns—is far more consistent for wide receivers than running backs, for example. It’s not just about projecting workload.
For that reason, you’ll very often see me use all types of backs (since I care mostly about their opportunities), whereas I really do have a “type” at wide receiver. It’s not like I won’t ever roster specific player types—namely when they’re very underpriced—but you’ll tend to notice the same general types of player in these articles: target monsters and/or red-zone-efficient receivers. If a player isn’t going to see a bunch of short targets (a la Julian Edelman) and he also can’t score touchdowns with consistency (a la Dez Bryant), then I generally don’t want him on my roster.
Cream of the Crop
DeAndre Hopkins, Houston (at MIA) – $8600
What would you rather do: sleep on a bed of nails for a week straight or fade DeAndre Hopkins? The latter might be riskier. He’s just seeing so many targets that you have to get him into your lineups right now. The Dolphins have allowed 2.1 points per game above expectation to opposing receivers over the past year.
Larry Fitzgerald, Arizona (vs BAL) – $7400
Only one team has allowed more points above expectation to wide receivers than the Ravens. The Cards are projected as the third-best offense in Week 7, and we know Fitz accounts for a high market share of their scoring. Given his workload and the fact that he’s performed above his implied total every game this year, I’m fine with Fitz in cash games.
Allen Robinson, Jacksonville (vs BUF) – $6400
Is this matchup awesome? No, but it also isn’t as poor as people might think. The Bills’ defense was much better against wide receivers last year than this year. Regardless, I’m going to jump on Robinson—who I believe is going to become an elite NFL wide receiver—at this price no matter who he’s playing.
T.Y. Hilton, Indianapolis (vs NO) – $6500
Hilton is an example of the type of player I generally don’t want to roster, but he’s definitely underpriced at $6500. He’s seen at least nine targets in each of the past three games, and it finally looks like his quarterback is healthy. Playing indoors against a sub-par defense, I think Hilton is in for a big day.
Middle of the Pack
Brandin Cooks, New Orleans (at IND) – $5500
Even though I’m not in love with Cooks, this is the cheapest he’s been all year. He’s still technically the top receiver for a team that has the ability to move the ball and is likely going to be forced to throw often in Indy. The Saints are projected at just under 24 points.
Julio Jones, Atlanta (at TEN) – $9100
The Titans have allowed 1.6 points per game above expectation to opposing wide receivers. Jones has been underwhelming of late—probably due to his health—and I think that risk makes him a tad overpriced here. However, that’s less important to me than Jones’ upside if he’s healthy, so I’m willing to roll the dice in GPPs. In cash games, I much prefer Hopkins at $500 cheaper.
Calvin Johnson, Detroit (vs MIN) – $7700
When Megatron is the eight-priciest receiver, you generally want to take a look. The downside here is he could be highly owned in tournament due to last week’s breakout performance, but I wouldn’t pay for him in cash games given his volatility in this offense and the superior options around him in price.
Jarvis Landry, Miami (vs HOU) – $6200
This is all about safety. Landry has double-digit targets in all but one game this year. It’s very difficult to take him out of games given where he lines up and how short his targets are. He can have a 60-yard performance and still return value because of how many targets he sees and how high his catch rate is. It’s worth noting the Texans have actually been quite poor against opposing receivers over the past year.
Rest of the Field
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay (at WSH) – $5300
Jackson is the epitome of a player who isn’t good for cash games but can thrive in tournaments. Is he going to have two receptions for 20 yards or eight for 150 and two scores? I don’t know, but I do know he has massive upside in a good matchup at a cheap cost.
Michael Floyd, Arizona (vs BAL) – $3200
It’s time. If you watched last week’s game, you saw Floyd have the opportunity to score about three times. I think you can sometimes get into trouble drawing too many conclusions from a single game—and Floyd does have only two games this year with more than five targets—but he’s worth a look in at least a small percentage of your GPP lineups just because of the upside for Arizona’s offense in this contest.
Willie Snead, New Orleans (at IND) – $4300
He’s performed better than expectations in every game this year, but a lot of that has to do with the cost. Snead’s price jumped $1000 over last week—a game in which he saw only five targets. There’s still value here, especially in cash games, but I do think his limited workload caps his tournament upside.
Justin Hunter, Tennessee (vs ATL) – $3000
Easiest pick I’ve made all year. ALL THE HUNTER IN WEEK 7!