The NFL was niece enough to schedule more late games this week. Two extra games might not seem like a big difference, but it makes a notable difference in the player pool this week. We also have a week’s worth of game action to help make decisions. Not a great sample size, yet much more useful than the preseason. Here is a look at some of the players I like in the last games this week:
Peyton Manning, Denver, $8,800 – Yes, $8,800 is a lot to pay for one player. No, it is not all that likely that Manning gives you triple value. But, Manning had 22.5 points last week and all he did against Kansas City last season was pass for 726 yards and six touchdowns. Jake Locker managed 266 yards and two TD against the Chiefs last week; that is where I would set Manning’s basement Sunday.
Russell Wilson, Seattle, $7,100 – There is actually a reason I use the heading Economy QB rather than Affordable QB. Unlike the other positions, many weeks there are just not any viable “cheap” late QB. That is the case in week two. I guess you could use Alex Smith against Denver, but he did not look good against Tennessee. Wilson had a solid 18.5 points last week and will be facing a weak San Diego secondary this week.
Matt Forte, Chicago, $8,000 – Dallas averaged 5.5 yards per rush against San Francisco last week. Sure, the 49ers defense should be good, but their injuries and suspension hurt most in their run defense. Forte is a stud running back, will get plenty of targets and is also facing a D that is likely to struggle against him. Forte is a nice option this week even with a pretty hefty price tag.
Arian Foster, $7,000 – Foster is a good running back when healthy, he just happens to be healthy now. You know what is better than a healthy Arian Foster? A healthy Arian Foster playing against a bad Oakland defense. All the Raiders did last week was allow over 200 yards rushing to the Jets. Yeah, I like Foster this week.
Chris Johnson, N. Y. Jets, $5,900 – Johnson is probably not going to see 25 carries, heck, he might not even have the most carries for the Jets this week. But, he remains a threat to break a big play with every touch, and he is probably also the Jets second best receiver after Eric Decker. To top it off, Seattle ran for over 200 yards against Green Bay opening night. All those factors make Johnson a very nice mid-priced RB option.
Carlos Hyde, San Francisco, $3,300 – I am not sure you can call a $3,300 running back a high-risk investment, but I do think Hyde is a risk – at least in terms of opportunity costs. If San Francisco does not get up big, there is a chance that Hyde sees limited touches. However, given Frank Gore’s age, I think that Hyde will get plenty of carries this week. I know that the Chicago D is not very good having allowed the Bills to rush for 193 yards week one.
Demaryius Thomas, Denver, $7,000 – Of the 726 yards Peyton Manning had against Kansas City last season, 227 of them went to Thomas. It has been pretty evident since the second half of last season that the Chiefs have issues in their secondary. Look for Thomas to further expose those issues this week.
Percy Harvin, Seattle, $6,400 – The good thing about Harvin is he gets a lot of touches for a wide receiver. Along with seven receptions against Green Bay opening night, Harvin had four carries. Throw in a match up against a weak San Diego defense and you get the recipe for a nice game from Harvin.
Vincent Jackson, Tampa Bay, $5,000 – There is a silver lining in a player having a horrible game; his price the next week is much lower. Jackson started his season out with a lowly four receptions for 36 yards. Jackson will never be the most consistent wide receiver – he is more of a big play guy than a reliable PPR receiver – but he does get to face a St. Louis secondary that allowed two TD receptions to Minnesota wide receivers last week. There is some risk with Jackson – though I think braking even is probably the worst case – but also the potential for him to provide triple – or better – value.
Dwayne Bowe, Kansas City, $4,500 – You know what depresses a WR value more than a bad week? A receiver being suspended for a week. While Bowe’s numbers against Denver last season were not great – seven receptions for 113 yards and a TD in two games – he had 21 targets in those two games. Kansas City is going to struggle to stop the Broncos offense so will be throwing a lot this week. Bowe should once again see a lot of targets against the Denver D.
Rob Gronkowski, New England, $6,000 – So, it looks like Gronkowski is healthy again. He was healthy enough to see 11 targets from Tom Brady against the Dolphins in week one. This week, Gronkowski faces a Vikings D that just allowed St. Louis TE seven receptions for 72 yards. In 2013 the Vikings ranked 29th against opposing tight ends making Gronkowski a good option this week.
Travis Kelce, Kansas City, $3,000 – It looks like Denver’s improved defense is not all that much improved against tight ends this season. In the Broncos’ week one victory against the Colts, the Colts TE managed seven receptions for 85 yards and a touchdown. Denver was the 23rd best team against tight end last season and does not look much better this season.
Seattle, $4,100 – This was the toughest call of the week. I was so tempted to go with Houston here, but Seattle is as reliable a fantasy D as you can find, and it is not like San Diego offense was very impressive week one. To top it off, Seattle will come into this game with four more days of rest than the Chargers will have had.
Less Expensive D/ST
Denver, $3,100 – Plain and simple, I do not trust any of the defenses under $3,000 this week. The Oakland, San Diego and Chargers defenses are not good, Kansas City, Philadelphia and the New York Jets have horrible match ups. I am not sold on the San Francisco or Tampa Bay defenses. Not really a fan of the Denver D either, but the Kansas City offense looked bad last week and will struggle to keep up with the Denver offense. I think that means Smith forcing throws, which lead to turnovers.
The late slate of games has a nice variety of players at various prices at most of the positions. Once again, the D/ST options are not all that enticing, but it is what it is and everyone is faced with the same choices. Enjoy the games this week and may you have success with all of your teams!