If you're going to listen to my advice you should at least know something about me.
In the fantasy football world I'd say there are two kinds of players: The purists and the progressives. Nothing wrong with either one, I just consider myself to be a progressive. Anyone remember SmallWorld or Sandbox.com? If you do, kudos. Smallworld was where I started playing Salary Cap Football and Sandbox is where I started playing in standard leagues. All in the late 90s. Every year since, there was another league or new format to figure out. From PPR to 4pt Passing TDs to Keeper settings. Lately, I've been keeping things interesting by putting my money where my mouth is and diving into High Stakes leagues. Two years ago I won my league over at NFFC (National Fantasy Football Championship) and last year I was the runner-up (One Greg Olsen reception for 6-yards away from glory).
All this is to say, I think I know what I'm saying but could very well be DEAD WRONG (ie. I drafted David Wilson in every league last year). If you think I'm way off, then let's light up the comment section and duel it out there.
That brings us to this article series. Every Friday I'll be posting guys I'm rolling the dice with in FanDuel for the Sunday contests. We'll be looking at the following:
Bargain Buys- Cheap, value guys that will save you cap space.
Star Splurges- Big price-tag but big production.
Must Avoid- Don't waste your money on them.
There is a little variability in roster construction if you are playing H2H or 50/50 contests (stability) versus the tournaments (boom potential) but for our purposes we'll just ignore the roster construction strategy and focus on the players.
So without further adieu...
RB Shane Vereen ($6,600)- In Week 1 of last year Vereen amassed 159 total yards and 7 receptions. Oh yea, this was before he got injured in the 2nd half of that game. The RB position in New England is a complicated one but what is certain is that Belichick and Co. love them some Shane Vereen. With Gronk undoubtedly being eased into action, Vereen could be the most targeted Patriot in the pass game as well as get the most carries on the ground.
TE Dennis Pitta ($6,200)- Ok, this is pushing it because Pitta isn't really a bargain at just $400 below the player average. Nevertheless, I'm rolling with Pitta in every single contest this week. A Cincinnati-Baltimore match-up doesn't seem to be favorable but expect Flacco to use his crutch-like tight end early and often. Pitta should see close to double digit targets in Kubiak's new, tight end friendly offense in Baltimore.
WR Jeremy Maclin ($5,000)- This is the last week you'll get Maclin at this price point. A #1 receiver on an electric offense who is facing the lowly Jaguars. Staying healthy is the only issue with Maclin, and that's not something you need to worry about with daily fantasy. Save some cash to add Peyton or Brees.
WR Golden Tate ($5,000)- The Lions targeted Tate for a reason. They gave the guy a 5-year, $31 million deal for a reason. The Lions have been looking for a guy opposite Megatron for years, and Tate could be that guy. The Lions open their season at home under the bright lights of Monday Night Football against the New York Giants. This game has shootout written all over it. With coverage rolled towards Megatron, Tate should have open opportunities to show his worth.
RB Toby Gerhart ($6,100)- Getting a workhorse back at this price is as rare as it gets. If you're deciding between Gerhart and Bernard Pierce ($6,100), go with Gerhart. You already know the Bengals-Ravens match-up is going to be a low scoring, defensive struggle. Pierce is just barely making it to gameday after suffering a pre-season concussion. Gerhart and the Jags face the Eagles, which is not a must-start match-up but expect him to get over 20 total touches with a few receptions mixed in.
QB Peyton Manning ($10,200)- He'll be the most expensive player on a weekly basis, this week is no exception. The storylines are a plenty. Peyton vs. Luck. The Broncos vs. a Colts team that gave them their first loss last year. Also, don't forget Peyton threw for 7 TDs in last year's home opener against the Ravens. Don't get cute, don't shy away from the price, just trust the man!
TE Jimmy Graham ($8,100)- Over the 7 games Graham has faced Atlanta in his career, he and Drew Brees have hooked up on 7 touchdowns. Take at least one touchdown to the bank this week in a rivalry game against the Falcons. You need a tight end, why not get one that is head and shoulders above the rest of the group? Graham is a rare mix of stability and boom-potential. Roll with him.
RB Doug Martin ($8,100)- It really surprises me that his price tag is this high going against a Carolina defense that allowed only 4 rushing touchdowns against them all of last year. However, with Lovie Smith's commitment to the running game, no depth at the position behind him, and Logan Mankins in the fold, Dougie's value should sky-rocket. Get on him before he's hot. This is a statement game in Tampa Bay. Roll with him especially if Cam doesn't suit up on Sunday.
WR A.J. Green ($8,300)- Historically, A.J. Green has not been that bad against the Baltimore Ravens. However, his quarterback, Andy Dalton, has. Dalton has thrown just 6 touchdowns and 11 interceptions against the Ravens in his career. Green will get his looks but his ROI just won't cut it. Spend $200 extra on Dez Bryant or save $300 and go with Julio Jones.
RB Le'Veon Bell ($8,300)- Basically, stay away from the AFC North. Yeah, I recommended Pitta but other than that I'm feeling uncomfortable trusting anyone else this weekend. The Steelers RB should be a solid play this year but he's the 7th most expensive RB and could likely forgo goal-line touches to LaGarrette Blount. The Cleveland defense he is facing is underrated and should force Big Ben to beat them in the air.
High price Kickers and Defenses- The $300 difference between Dan Bailey ($5,300) and Brandon McManus (Denver's interim kicker- $5,000) could be the difference between A.J. Green ($8,300) and Dez Bryant ($8,500). Get a guy like Greg Zuerlein at $4,500 and a defense like Tampa Bay at $4,900 and spend your money in other ways. Consider this a recurring piece of advice.