Snapdraft is a weekly game in which you select a team that fits under a $27 million salary cap. There’s a wide variety of league sizes, and while each league costs at least $1, there are cash prizes as well. There are also now games that will pay out to up to the top five teams. Each week I’ll take a look at the matchups and the salaries and put together a winning combination. Since there’s a salary cap, you can’t just stack your team with a bunch of studs, so finding some bargains will be key. Here’s the Week 10 squad.
Michael Vick, Eagles, $5,800,000, vs. Cardinals
The Eagles are once again in do or die mode after a loss to the Bears last week. That doesn’t bode well for the Cardinals. Look for Vick to bounce back in a big way after a lackluster effort against Chicago. Vick will put the team on his back, and the fact that the Cards have a terrible pass defense doesn’t hurt either.
Other value picks
Philip Rivers, Chargers, $5,350,000, vs. Raiders - Yes, Rivers threw three picks against the Packers last week, but he also racked up 385 yards and four touchdowns. Look for Rivers to continue to round back into form this week against the Raiders. San Diego can’t afford to lose another division matchup, and he’ll make sure that doesn’t happen.
Tim Tebow, Broncos, $3,780,000, at Chiefs - As always, there is some risk in taking Tebow because you just don’t know what you’re going to get. But the Broncos installed a new offense to fit his talents, and the results last week were very encouraging. The Chiefs won’t be caught off guard as much as the Raiders were, but Tebow should still be able to put up some nice combined yardage.
Jackie Battle, Chiefs, $2,950,000, vs. Broncos
I went with Battle last week, and the results weren’t that great. A big reason for that, though, is that they Chiefs got into a surprisingly early hole against the Dolphins and were playing catch-up all game long. The Chiefs will bounce back this week, and should be back to running the ball a healthy amount with Battle leading the charge.
Roy Helu, Redskins, $2,190,000, at Dolphins
Helu was one of the biggest surprises of Week 9. He only rushed the ball 10 times for 41 yards, but he racked up an amazing 14 receptions for 101 yards. A Mike Shanahan backfield is always a risky play, but Helu is supposedly entrenched as the lead back for now, and Ryan Torain is only supposed to spell him when he gets tired. At this price, you might as well ride the hot hand.
Other value picks
Chris Johnson, Titans, $3,850,000, at Panthers – He wasn’t the Chris Johnson of old last week, but it was a step in the right direction, as he combined for 110 yards from scrimmage. Javon Ringer didn’t get many carries, so as long as Johnson continues to improve, he shouldn’t have to worry about a timeshare. At less than $4 million, he could be a big bargain if he finally breaks out.
Reggie Bush, Dolphins, $2,860,000, vs. Redskins - Reggie Bush rushed for 92 yards and a touchdown on 13 carries and caught three passes for 50 yards in the Dolphins' Week 9 win over the Chiefs. This comes one week after he rushed for over 100 yards against the Giants as well. This could be the start of a trend, and if it is, you don’t want to miss out.
Calvin Johnson, Lions, $4,400,000, at Bears
Calvin Johnson is an absolute beast, and while wide receiver is oftentimes a bit of a crapshoot, he is about as close to a lock as you’ll ever find. His price tag is high, but he’s worth every penny. The Lions are coming off a bye and will be ready to give the Bears a heavy dose of Megatron. The Bears did a good job containing the Eagles’ speedy DeSean Jackson, but they won’t have an answer for the physical Johnson.
Antonio Brown, Steelers, $2,510,000, at Bengals
Antonio Brown has made it impossible for the Steelers to keep him off the field. With Emmanuel Snaders missing time due to a knee injury, Brown’s role in the offense is only going to increase. He’s racked up more than 100 yards receiving in two of his last three games, and if it wasn’t for Mike Wallace swooping in and stealing a TD pass that was meant for Brown, he’d have two TDs in the last two games. Pittsburgh is passing more and more, and Brown is a big reason why.
Other value picks
Laurent Robinson, Cowboys, $2,730,000, vs. Bills – With Miles Austin out with a hamstring injury, Robinson will be inserted into the starting lineup alongside Dez Bryant. Even with Austin in the picture, Robinson had caught a touchdown in each of the last two games, and Tony Romo is clearly comfortable throwing to him. In a starting role, his targets should only increase, and his production should be greater than his sub-$3 million price tag.
Earl Bennett, Bears, $1,500,000, vs. Lions – Bennett made his return from a chest injury in a big way on Monday night against the Eagles with five catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. He was clearly Jay Cutler’s go-to guy, so he could be in line for several targets against the Lions. It’s tough to count on anyone in Chicago’s passing game, but at such a low price, it’s worth the risk.
Jason Witten, Cowboys, $2,810,000, vs. Bills
Jason Witten is always a safe bet as he’s Tony Romo’s security blanket. He hasn’t had less than four receptions in a game, and he has four touchdowns on the season. With Miles Austin out, he could be in line for even more targets than usual. Look for Witten to rack up at least five receptions and to find the end zone in this one.
Other value picks
Jake Ballard, Giants, $1,850,000, at 49ers – Ballard has become a surprising weapon for Eli Manning this season. It seems like whenever Eli is in a tough spot and needs a key first down, Ballard is there. He scored the game-winner against the Pats last week and has racked up 55 yards or more in four straight games.
Visanthe Shiancoe, Vikings, $1,350,000, at Packers – Shiancoe has emerged as Christian Ponder’s main third-down target, and if the Vikings have any shot against the Packers, he’ll have to play a key role. Even though they have Adrian Peterson, the Vikings will likely be forced to air it out more than usual, and Shiacoe could be a beneficiary of that.
St. Louis Rams, $1,020,000, at Browns
We went with the Rams last week against a struggling Cards team, and it paid off as St. Louis registered two safeties and only gave up 19 points. This week they face another struggling offense in the Browns, so why not go with the best value on the board?
Other value picks
Cleveland Browns, $1,420,000, vs. Rams – This one goes both ways I guess. The Rams are struggling as well, and the Browns have a better defense than the Cardinals (who held St. Louis to just 13 points last week). The threat of Josh Cribbs taking a return for a touchdown is also enticing.
Washington Redskins, $1,980,000, at Dolphins – After getting their first win of the season, the Dolphins return home, but that’s not a good thing for them. They play better on the road, and the Miami fans are rooting for them to lose so they can get Andrew Luck. The Redskins are horrific on offense, but their defense remains solid. Look for them to contain the Dolphins this week.
Phil Dawson, Browns, $2,250,000, vs. Rams
The paltry Browns’ offense has kept Phil Dawson off most fantasy owners’ radars, but he’s coming off a game in which he nailed two 50-plus-yard bombs. The Rams’ defense is bad enough that the Browns should be able to at least get into field goal range a handful of times, which could mean a nice day for the Cleveland kickers.
Other value picks
Josh Brown, Rams, $2,000,000, at Browns – Brown was having a great day and looked prime to hit the game-winner for the Rams last week before his final attempt was blocked. He knocked through three kicks before that, and boasts a very strong leg. The Rams struggle finding the end zone, so, like Dawson, he should get a handful of opportunities and provides nice value here.
Rob Bironas, Titans, $2,150,000, at Panthers – With Chris Johnson finally improving, and with Matt Hasselbeck still slinging the ball well despite not having many weapons, the offense is moving the ball. Bironas still has a big leg, and they’re playing a mediocre defense, so he could be a nice pick here.
Carson Palmer, Raiders, $2,970,000, at Chargers
It just seems to make sense to keep going with a QB at the Flex position. Palmer showed impressive arm strength last week, and even though he threw three picks, he also recorded three touchdowns. He’ll be playing a Chargers defense that has proven they can be scored upon, so look for him to continue to get more and more comfortable with his new offense.