Daily Fantasy Football: FanDuel Values for Divisional Round Contests
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If you play daily fantasy football (and who doesn't these days?!), you know that one of the keys to success is uncovering values considering the use of a salary-cap format on these sites.
By comparing my rankings for this weekend's games to the salaries of players in FanDuel leagues, I've compiled a list of players that are values. Compared to the regular season with more games each weekend, there are few(er) deep-discount bargains than there are during the playoffs.
When I use the term "values," that does not exclusively mean the players will be cheap in absolute terms. Again, the key here is relative value.
Sorted by position (and then price), here are some FanDuel values for this weekend's games:
QB - Philip Rivers, San Diego Chargers (at DEN), $8,000 salary
Among the eight starting quarterbacks this weekend, Rivers has the lowest salary of the group but is my fourth-ranked quarterback. If there is anything that concerns me about Rivers, it's the fact that he threw the ball only 16 times last weekend. In the Chargers' regular-season upset over the Broncos, Rivers threw the ball only 20 times. It's likely part of the game plan to run the ball as much as possible in an attempt to keep the ball out of Peyton Manning's hands.
That said, the Broncos are favored by nearly double digits and could possibly jump out to an early lead. If so, that could dictate that Rivers will need to throw more than the Chargers would like. The Broncos allowed the 10th-most fantasy points to opposing quarterbacks this season.
RB - Mark Ingram, New Orleans Saints (at SEA), $5,300
Ingram's value this weekend is closely tied to the status of teammate Pierre Thomas, who missed last week's game. While he practiced Thursday on a limited basis, it appears unlikely at this point that he will play. The good news is the Saints play in the first playoff game of the weekend, so you will know PT's status in time to adjust, if applicable.
Against the Eagles on Saturday, Ingram carried the ball 18 times for 97 yards and a touchdown and also had three receptions for 17 yards. Seattle has the league's best defense, but it is less difficult to run on them than it is to throw against them.
RB - LeGarrette Blount, New England Patriots (vs. IND), $5,600
One can never confidently project the allocation of touches among the Patriots running backs, but Blount has seen his workload rise as the season concluded. In the final two games of the season, Blount had a total of 40 carries for 265 yards and four touchdowns. Compared to Shane Vereen and Stevan Ridley, Blount has the lowest salary among Patriots running backs expected to play.
* FanDuel is running a $300,000 contest for this weekend's games only. The entry fee is $25 and first prize is $25,000. (This is their last weekend of NFL games for the season.)
WR - Steve Smith, Carolina Panthers (vs. SF), $4,500
This is a proceed-with-caution recommendation as Smith's status (knee) for this weekend's game is unclear at this point. On Thursday, he downgraded himself to "57 percent" (from 71 percent). If he plays, however, there's risk that Smith may be mostly a decoy, but he has the position-minimum salary in FanDuel leagues for wide receivers.
WR - Keenan Allen, San Diego Chargers (at DEN), $6,700
As my fourth-ranked receiver for this weekend's games, Allen has the eighth-highest salary. He was one of just five rookie receivers to finish with 1,000-plus yards since the turn of the century and could possibly win the Offensive Rookie of the Year award.
Since recording five 100-yard games in an eight-game stretch, Allen has less than 100 yards in five straight games including last weekend's win over the Bengals. That said, he has five touchdowns during that span including two of them against the Broncos in their last matchup.
[Related: See my postseason award predictions post here.]
WR - Julian Edelman, New England Patriots (vs. IND), $7,200
Setting career highs across the board (105/1,056/6), Edelman has been especially productive for fantasy owners down the stretch. In the final six games of the season, he hauled in 53 receptions for 556 yards and four touchdowns. During that span, he had at least six receptions in all games and nine-plus catches four times.
TE - Antonio Gates, San Diego Chargers (at DEN), $4,500
While he has only four touchdowns this season, Gates has been one of the best redzone targets of the past decade. With the emergence of Ladarius Green, however, Gates may need a touchdown to have a productive fantasy outing. He has 50 yards or less in seven consecutive games.
Among higher-priced tight end options, Vernon Davis is a solid option as my second-ranked (but third-most expensive) tight end for the weekend.
For a sortable grid of players in FanDuel, click here.