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 11 squad.
Tom Brady, Patriots, $6,200,000, vs. Chiefs
If Tom Brady was able to pick apart Darrelle Revis and the Jets defense, imagine what he’ll be able to do against the Chiefs. Even if the Pats get out to a big lead, they don’t have much of a run game to speak of, so Brady will just keep throwing the ball and racking up points. He’s a lot of money, but he should be worth every penny.
Other value picks
Carson Palmer, Raiders, $4,570,000, at Vikings – In his first start as a Raider, Palmer threw for over 300 yards and three touchdowns (yes, that did include three picks). Last week, Palmer looked even better going for 299 yards, two TDs and just one INT. Look for Palmer to have another nice day against a Vikings secondary that was already weak before losing Antoine Winfield to a broken collarbone.
Sam Bradford, Rams, $3,490,000, vs. Seahawks – Bradford looked pretty solid in his return from an ankle injury two weeks ago, but he struggled last week against the Browns. Maybe the third game back will be the charm for him against a suspect Seahawks secondary at home. Seattle is pretty good at stopping the run, so Bradford will likely have to air it out.
Shonn Greene, Jets, $3,850,000, at Broncos
Greene racked up just 61 yards last week, but the Jets fell behind the Patriots and had to pass the ball more than usual. While his yards were underwhelming, he averaged 4.7 yards per carry, which was his high for the season. Look for the Jets to get back to the “ground and pound,” and with LaDainian Tomlinson out with an injury, Greene may get an increased workload and more scoring opportunities.
Brandon Jacobs, Giants, $2,670,000, vs. Eagles
While it’s not set in stone, Ahmad Bradshaw is still hobbled by a foot injury, and Jacobs could be getting another start. Jacobs was held to 55 yards against the 49ers, but that’s nothing to sneeze at since San Francisco is one of the league’s best defenses. The Eagles, on the other hand, can’t seem to stop anyone. Even if Bradshaw plays, Jacobs should get a healthy amount of carries, and given his matchup, that makes him an attractive option here.
Other value picks
Lance Ball, Broncos, $3,400,000, vs. Jets – This pick hinges on the health of Willis McGahee. After McGahee went down with a hamstring injury last week, Ball received 30 carries and rushed for 96 yards. With Tim Tebow at QB, the Broncos will definitely be running the ball, so if McGahee is out (and on a short week, he likely will be), Ball could have a nice game.
Kendall Hunter, 49ers, $2,150,000, vs. Cardinals – Frank Gore (ankle, knee) is supposedly playing this week against Arizona, but if the 49ers were willing to sit him for a large portion of the game against the Giants, you can bet they’ll be extra careful with him against a lesser team like the Cardinals. Even if Gore plays, Kendall Hunter will see an increased role, and he has the potential to break some explosive plays.
Vincent Jackson, Chargers, $3,710,000, at Bears
Jackson is coming off, arguably, his worst game of the season. He had just one catch for 21 yards and also failed to break up an interception in the end zone at one point. Look for him to bounce back in a big way. The Bears will be pressuring Philip Rivers all game, but Jackson should still see plenty of targets. The Bears secondary can be thrown upon, and if the Chargers have any hope in this game, Jackson will need to put up some big numbers.
Damian Williams, Titans, $1,600,000, at Falcons
The second-year man out of USC continues to make strides for the Titans. He had his third straight game of four catches or more, and scored for the second game in a row. Last week, he had five catches for 107 yards, and while the Panthers’ secondary is pretty poor, it was still an impressive effort. The Falcons are excellent at stopping the run, so Matt Hasselbeck will have to take to the air, and Williams will be one of the beneficiaries.
Other value picks
Laurent Robinson, Cowboys, $3,240,000, at Redskins – Robinson only had three catches last week, but two of them were for touchdowns. It was the third consecutive game in which he hit pay dirt, so Tony Romo has shown all the faith in the world in him. He started targeting him even when Miles Austin was healthy, so now that he’s in the starting lineup, he’s a big time threat.
Vincent Brown, Chargers, $2,320,000, at Bears – Here’s another injury watch guy. A lot of Brown’s value will hinge on Malcom Floyd’s status. Brown has put up back-to-back impressive weeks with four catches for 79 yards against the Packers and five catches for 97 yards and a TD against the Raiders. If Floyd misses another game, Brown has some serious value.
Jermichael Finley, Packers, $2,530,000, vs. Buccaneers
Finley hasn’t had a dominating performance since Week 3 against the Bears when he had three touchdowns, but he always has breakout potential. If the Bucs try to bottle up Greg Jennings, Aaron Rodgers may look to Finley more. While there are a couple more guys out there who are bigger sure things, we needed to save a little money, and Finley provides one of the highest ceilings out there for his salary.
Other value picks
Ed Dickson, Ravens, $2,200,000, vs. Bengals – Dickson is coming off a monster game against the Seahawks in which he had 10 catches for 79 yards and two touchdowns. While a repeat performance is likely too much to ask for, another solid day is not.
Dustin Keller, Jets, $1,800,000, at Broncos – If Mark Sanchez can get into a rhythm Thursday night, it could mean a big night for Keller. This is a high risk-high reward pick since the Jets’ offense is pretty unpredictable, but if you’re looking to save a few pennies, Keller could be the pick for you.
Jacksonville Jaguars, $1,040,000, at Browns
Jacksonville may be one of the worst overall teams in the league, but that’s largely due to their inept offense. The defense has actually been very solid lately. They held the Ravens to just seven points in Week 7, and after the Texans dropped 24 on them, they bounced back by allowing just three points to the Colts. The Browns are another horrible offense, so the Jags could do some damage on D.
Other value picks
Oakland Raiders, $2,230,000, at Vikings – The Raiders sit atop the AFC West right now, and they should be motivated to stay there. While stopping Adrian Peterson is no easy task, they could take advantage of Christian Ponder’s inexperience.
St. Louis Rams, $1,020,000, vs. Seahawks – The Rams are the cheapest defense on the board, but they’ve looked much improved the last couple of weeks. Granted, it was against the Cardinals and Browns, but the Seahawks are in that same class, so this could be another good time to use them.
Josh Brown, Rams, $2,000,000, vs. Seahawks
The Rams have struggled on offense all season, but with Sam Bradford back, the scoring opportunities should continue to increase. They might still struggle to get into the end zone, which would be a good thing for Brown.
Other value picks
Nick Folk, Jets, $2,560,000, at Broncos – The Jets are another team that isn’t always a lock to find the end zone. The Jets should be able to move the ball on Denver, and if they sputter inside the red zone, Folk will be there to bang home a few field goals.
Phil Dawson, Browns, $2,250,000, vs. Jaguars – Dawson came alive last week with four field goals made, and if there was a better snap, he likely would have nailed the game-winner. Dawson’s leg isn’t the question mark…the Browns’ offense is.
Vince Young, Eagles, $3,180,000, at Giants or Matt Moore, Dolphins, $3,310,000, vs. Bills
As with several of the bargains out there, you’ll have to be watching the injury reports closely. If Michael Vick’s two broken ribs keeps him out of Sunday night’s game against the Giants, then Vince Young is a great play here. The Giants have struggled against mobile quarterbacks all season, so Young could take advantage of that. If Vick plays, then we’d go with Matt Moore here. He threw for three TDs in Miami’s first win of the season two weeks ago against the Chiefs, and last week he was an efficient 20-for-29 for 209 yards against a tough Redskins defense. The Bills have struggled this year on defense at times, so Moore could be solid yet again.