In this weekly article, we’ll look at the cheaper options that should return good value to your NFL DFS lineups. The bargain threshold varies by site, and position, but generally we’ll aim for our bargain plays to take up about 8-10 percent of your salary cap, except for quarterbacks, which we’ll allow 11-12 percent. A great tool to find bargains is our DFS projection system, which gives a dollar per fantasy point projection for each player. I refer to it often!
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Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers vs. Minnesota
Garoppolo is a high-floor and inexpensive option in a great game environment this week. He has two passing touchdowns in each of his last three games, and though he doesn’t always surpass 200 yards, he has three games over 300 passing yards. Those tended to be the high scoring, competitive games like this one is expected to be. Garoppolo ranks as one of the more aggressive QBs per NextGenStats, throwing into tight coverage, and given the talent of his receivers, it’s working as he completes more than expected. This is an offense that is clicking right now through the air and it feels like a great opportunity to save on QB on this somewhat weird Sunday slate.
Ty Johnson, NY Jets at Houston
With Michael Carter out for a couple of weeks at least, Johnson should be a popular play this weekend. It helps that Houston is a Top 10 rushing matchup and giving up the third-most overall fantasy points to their opponents. Neither of these teams is known for defense, so this could be an opportunity for the Jets to build on what Joe Flacco did last week. Johnson is versatile enough to catch a bunch of short passes, which are somewhat more likely to come from starter Zach Wilson than Flacco, and rack up the yards on the ground.
Melvin Gordon, Denver Broncos vs. LA Chargers
Boring Gordon is another cheap option in an even better matchup. All season the Chargers have been getting burned on the ground. As much as everyone would like to see a Javonte Williams takeover in Denver, Gordon is still the main man. Williams is impressive, with a slightly higher YPC (5.0) than Gordon (4.4), but this offensive line makes it easy on both backs. Gordon is still getting slightly more carries than Williams as well, but where it matters, in the red zone, Gordon is dominating. He scored in the Broncos’ last two games and would seem to have a good opportunity to do so in this favorable matchup. The game is expected to be pretty high scoring and close. Both backs need the defense to step up at home to keep Justin Herbert in check early on.
Van Jefferson, LA Rams at Green Bay
All eyes will be on Odell Beckham Jr. in this one, but I’m trusting Jefferson a bit more here. Green Bay’s defense overall has come on strong lately but this game still has one of the highest point totals of the week and the Packers are only one-point home favorites. There are concerns about a California team playing in Green Bay this time of year, but the risk is lower with Jefferson’s salary than with Kupp’s. Jefferson has been targeted steadily over the last four games, and despite zero catches there, isn’t too far behind Kupp in red zone targets. The Rams have struggled the last two games; I think they’ll come to play in this crucial game and Jefferson is the cheap way to get a piece of the action.
Michael Pittman, Indianapolis Colts vs. Tampa Bay
Pittman is a little pricey for this article, but hear me out. His salary has fallen considerably from where it was 2-3 weeks ago. The Colts have been relying on Jonathan Taylor almost exclusively and he’s been getting it done. I’m not convinced he’ll do it again vs. the Bucs, who are a top run defense. Yes, so was Buffalo prior to Week 11, but having seen that carnage, I don’t think Tampa will take it for granted that they can stop Taylor. With the defensive focus firmly on the running back, I expect it to open things up for Carson Wentz and Pittman. Plus, we have to expect Tom Brady and the Bucs to put up points, and Vegas has this game as the highest over/under of the day. A shootout clearly benefits Pittman.
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Evan Engram, NY Giants at Philadelphia
There are reasons to pay up at tight end, on George Kittle, for instance, who has scored in each of the three games he’s been back, but there are a lot of Tier 1-2 guys I’d like to spend on this weekend. Given the more volatile nature of the TE position, it’s usually a safe place to save. Engram has been disappointing, again, this season, but gets the actual league-best TE matchup with the Eagles this week. The Giants are a better team when Engram is more involved and Daniel Jones would do well to target him more than he did in Week 11. The Eagles are only 3.5-point favorites in New York this weekend, so while everyone is piling up Philly players, you could differentiate your lineup and save money with a sneaky TE play in Engram.
Green Bay Packers vs. LA Rams ($3700 FD, $2600 DK, $16 Yahoo)
If you don’t pay up for the Patriots, I’m not sure what you do at defense…but I don’t hate going way cheap with Green Bay. Despite my advocacy of Jefferson above, the Packers have been really stout lately and the weather is definitely on their side. They allow the fifth-fewest points per game and haven’t seen a rusher over 90 yards in four games. Kirk Cousins was the first 300-yard passer they allowed all season. This is all about saving money and hoping for a pick six.