Ed Williams III

Snapdraft Football

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Under the Cap: Week 15

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


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 15 squad.

 

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Quarterback

Andy Dalton, Bengals, $3,640,000, at Rams
After a couple of brutal matchups, things get a little easier for Andy Dalton as the Bengals travel to St. Louis to face the Rams. Look for Dalton to throw for at least a couple of touchdowns as Cincinnati tries to keep its playoff hopes alive. Some quarterbacks may put up better numbers, but this is the best value on the board.

Other value picks
Matt Ryan, Falcons, $5,100,000, vs. Jaguars – Ryan is coming off one of his best games of the season in which he threw for 320 yards and four touchdowns. He may not be quite as prolific this week, but he should still put forth a nice effort against the Jags.

Carson Palmer, Raiders, $4,570,000, vs. Lions – The Raiders have been struggling, and that trend will likely continue this week. Both the Raiders and Lions are fighting for their playoff lives, so this one should be chock full of offense. Look for Palmer to put up a few scores as this one develops into a shootout.

Running back

Felix Jones, Cowboys, $4,350,000, at Buccaneers
Thanks to the injury to DeMarco Murray, Felix Jones is a great option again. The Bucs have been abominable against the run lately, giving up 190 yards to Chris Johnson and four touchdowns to Maurice Jones-Drew. Jones is destined for a big day.

Beanie Wells, Cardinals, $3,980,000, vs. Browns
The 49ers did a good job bottling up Beanie Wells last week, but that’s why they’re one of the league’s elite run defenses. Beanie should get back on track against Cleveland as Arizona is finally showing signs of life late in the season.

Other value picks
Roy Helu, Redskins, $4,900,000, at Giants – Helu has emerged as the clear No. 1 guy in Washington’s backfield. He’s a threat in the passing game as well, which makes him an attractive option here.

Shonn Greene, Jets, $4,220,000, at Eagles – The Jets have gone back to their “ground and pound” attack, and Greene has taken to it like a fish to water. Greene has four touchdowns in his last two games and will be facing a suspect Philadelphia run defense.

Wide receiver

Julio Jones, Falcons, $3,000,000, vs. Jaguars
Jones is coming off a 104-yard, two touchdown game against the Panthers, and he should be a major factor against the Jags as well. With defenses keying on Roddy White, Jones can make them pay with the deep ball.

Mike Williams, Buccaneers, $2,650,000, vs. Cowboys
Before last week’s debacle against the Jags, Williams had registered more than 80 yards receiving in his last three games. Look for him to get back on track against the Cowboys as the Bucs will likely be forced to throw the ball in catch-up mode.

Other value picks
Marques Colston, Saints, $3,590,000, at Vikings – The Vikings are a mess in the secondary and Drew Brees should be able to carve them up. Colston is a great bet to be one of the primary weapons in the potent passing attack.

James Jones, Packers, $2,310,000, at Chiefs – This is a high-risk, high-reward pick. With the injury to Greg Jennings, Jones could be in line for a much bigger role. He could be worth the roll of the dice here.

Tight end

Antonio Gates, Chargers, $2,570,000, vs. Ravens
Gates has been steadily improving of late and has at least six catches in his last three games. He’s coming off a 2-TD performance against the Bills last week and will be one of Philip Rivers’ top weapons against the Ravens.

Other value picks
Vernon Davis, 49ers, $2,540,000, vs. Steelers – Davis has had an up-and-down season, but the talent is undeniable. If the 49ers fall behind, Alex Smith may be forced to throw the ball, and if that’s the case, Davis will have a big day.

Jermaine Gresham, Bengals, $2,090,000, at Rams – The Bengals should be able to put some points on the board against the Rams, and Gresham is one of Andy Dalton’s primary red zone targets.

Defense/special teams

Arizona Cardinals, $1,380,000, vs. Browns
The Cardinals have really stepped it up the last couple of weeks. They haven’t given up more than 23 points since Week 9 and are on a 3-game winning streak. The Browns have an anemic offense, plus Patrick Peterson is always a threat to return a kick for a touchdown on special teams.

Other value picks
Seattle Seahawks, $1,960,000, at Bears – The Bears have been a mess ever since Jay Cutler went down with an injury, and the Seahawks have been quietly improving. Seattle should be able to keep Caleb Hanie in check and pick up another win.

Atlanta Falcons, $2,100,000, vs. Jaguars – The Jaguars exploded for 41 points against the Bucs, but that was against the Bucs. The Falcons will give them a reality check this week.

Kicker

Lawrence Tynes, Giants, $2,290,000, vs. Redskins
The Giants control their own fate in the NFC East now, and they should pick up a win here. The Redskins always play the Giants tough, so they should be able to force the G-Men into a few field goal attempts instead of TDs, which is good news for Lawrence Tynes.

Other value picks
Matt Prater, Broncos, $2,510,000, vs. Patriots – Tim Tebow may get all the attention, but Matt Prater has been knocking down some huge field goals. While you won’t get extra points for pressure-packed kicks, the Broncos just don’t find the end zone with a ton of regularity, so Prater will get plenty of chances for field goals.

Jay Feely, Cardinals, $2,190,000, vs. Browns –The Browns are terrible on offense, but have a capable defense that should be able to hold the Cardinals to field goal attempts on several drives. And Feely should be able to knock them down.

Flex

Jake Locker, Titans, $2,860,000, at Colts
This is one where you have to check the injury reports. With rosters locking on Thursday night, you have to be sure that Locker is getting the start. But if he is, this is a dream matchup as the Colts just can’t stop anyone. Locker has shown flashes of brilliance in his limited action and should have a monster day if he gets the call in this one.






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