Each week I search for the cheapest viable options for your FanDuel lineups at every position. The plays are geared toward cash games unless otherwise indicated and I do try to use a price ceiling of $7000 for QB, $6000 for RB/WR, and $5500 for TE insomuch as possible.
The playoffs create a difficult pricing structure. Every team in the playoffs has its stars, and no one is willfully playing backups or “seeing what they have in a guy”. I’m not going to recommend cheap back up players unless there’s a sufficiently good reason to think they’ll play—we’re definitely not banking on in-game injuries providing opportunity. FanDuel somewhat flattens its pricing structure for the playoffs, so part of what we’ll be looking for are good values, players who might have been at a higher salary during the regular season when there were more options but fall at the lower end of the spectrum this week.
Tom Brady is the obvious expensive play this weekend, I’m not high on Drew Brees or Ben Roethlisberger facing the two best pass defenses in the league, which leaves us with five lower-end options. I’ll pick two for you that I like this weekend.
Marcus Mariota $7500: Mariota is the safer cheap play this weekend. He’s proven his floor is reasonable, with only three games out of 16 under 10 fantasy points. Moreover, he’s coming off his best game of the season in Kansas City (for fantasy) and gets the best on-paper matchup of the week. New England allowed the most total passing yards (4319), ranking 25th in takeaways with only 12 interceptions during the regular season. You know the Patriots are going to score, which will keep Mariota and the Titans offense in high gear. When Mariota throws at least 30 passes, he generally exceeds value.
Case Keenum $7600: Keenum is my cheap tournament option. The Vikings are favored at home this week, but we know New Orleans will find ways to score despite Minnesota being the best rushing defense and second-best pass defense. Keenum has looked firmly in control of this offense all season, and with a balanced approach should be able to methodically move the ball. New Orleans does have a much improved secondary led by rookie Marshon Lattimore, so I don’t think this is a mistake-free game for Keenum, but I do think he’s a good bet for 3-4 TDs, something I can’t say about the other options in this range.
Tevin Coleman $5800: Though I like the Falcons passing options this week, I’m sticking with Atlanta’s back-up RB here because it’s pretty barren in the low-end at this position. Devonta Freeman only carried the ball twice more than Coleman in the win over the Rams, when I expected a run-heavy game plan, and if he had scored, would have been a top Wild Card option for the price. Same logic applies here. While the Eagles are a stout run defense (allowed a league-fewest 79.2 rushing yards per game), Coleman should get the carries and just needs to break one for a long touchdown, something he’s done a couple times this season.
Latavius Murray $6800: Ok, so Murray isn’t that cheap but I do like him at this salary. He’s definitely established himself as the lead back over Jerrick McKinnon, making the most of his 20-plus touches per week in the last three weeks of the season. New Orleans has allowed 13 total touchdowns to opposing running backs (8 rushing, 5 receiving), tied with Pittsburgh for the most of the remaining teams. If you don’t go with Le’Veon Bell and Leonard Fournette, Murray is the man.
Ted Ginn Jr. $5900: Repeat appearance here for Ginn, Jr. whose price failed to rise after his big game last week. The formula is in place for a repeat performance too. I expect top corner Xavier Rhodes to cover Michael Thomas this weekend, making things somewhat easier on Ginn. It doesn’t hurt that Minnesota has to keep an extra guy back to deal with the dual threat rushing attack New Orleans presents. I think Ginn sees a lot of single coverage and should get his chances with the deep ball on Sunday.
Corey Davis $5400: Davis is by no means a safe option, but makes for a great tournament target or complement to a Patriots stack at his price. He saw seven targets last week and over nine targets in three other games this season. He doesn’t boast the best catch ratio, and hasn’t scored a touchdown yet, but that’s no reason to think he won’t be the breakout guy this week. I mentioned the stats on the Patriots pass defense above…they ended the season ranked fourth in fantasy points allowed to opposing wide receivers and Rishard Matthews isn’t impressing lately. You might mix and match here, interchanging Matthews or Eric Decker for Davis in different tournament lineups, but if I have to choose one, it’s Davis.
Jacksonville Jaguars $4600: Defense is tough this week, because while there are the best of the best taking the field, they face the best of the best offenses. Thus I’m not 100 percent comfortable with the Vikings or Eagles at home. Jacksonville is the fourth-cheapest option, but the most talented unit. They shredded Big Ben the first time these teams played, in Pittsburgh back in October. They ranked second in sacks (55), just one fewer than Pittsburgh and finished second in total takeaways (33, 21 interceptions). If you’re not spending on the Steelers, take the Jags in what Vegas has as the lowest scoring game of the week.