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!
Mike Glennon, Jacksonville Jaguars (FD: $6600, DK: $5100, Yahoo: $25)
Glennon is likely no surprise here. His salary is still very low after averaging 16 fantasy points per game in his last two outings. Those were both favorable matchups, as is the upcoming bout with the Tennessee Titans. We saw what Baker Mayfield just did to them, after all. On the season, the Titans rank as the fifth-best QB matchup. Glennon would have had a much better final stat line if not for being credited with three turnovers (two picks, one fumble lost). For the price, he was still a good value last week, relative to much more expensive players like Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Russell Wilson or Kyler Murray. If it benefits the rest of your lineup to save at QB, Glennon should once again return solid 3X-ish value against Tennessee.
Jalen Hurts, Philadelphia Eagles (FD: $6600, DK: $5100, Yahoo: $22)
I’m not 100 percent sold on Hurts, but I know he’s going to be on peoples’ minds. The matchup is not great; in fact the Saints rank as the third-worst QB matchup. Moreover, the Eagles’ offensive line has to take a lot of the blame for the offensive woes of this team. They allow the most sacks per game in the league (4.4), and again, the Saints are tied for third in the league in sacks (three per game). Here I do like Hurts, because of his mobility and eagerness to run the ball, he should be harder to sack for the crushing losses Carson Wentz was accustomed to. Hurts also managed to outscore Wentz in Week 12 in about a third of the time and must know this is an audition of sorts. Sometimes these drastic changes affect the entire team and we get dramatically good results. I’ll use Hurts in a GPP or two, but don’t trust him in a cash game lineup this weekend.
Ty Johnson, NY Jets (FD: $5500, DK: $4700, Yahoo: $15)
I’m going to be a little stubborn, as it’s early-mid week as this comes out. The Jets should have been utilizing Johnson long before Frank Gore was concussed. There is some talk that they could have Gore back this week, which is crazy at his age and with his history. Johnson was highly effective with 22 carries for over 100 rushing yards, adding two catches for 13 additional yards against Las Vegas. This week the Jets travel to Seattle, where the weather doesn’t look great and WRs Denzel Mims and Breshad Perriman are both currently questionable. I know the rule is to throw on Seattle, but I have to think that if Gore is out (the smart move), this is another fantastic opportunity for Johnson.
J.D. McKissic, Washington Football Team (FD: $5300, DK: $4900, Yahoo: $14)
Since Antonio Gibson’s turf toe injury emerged Monday, after salaries were set, we have the chance to roster McKissic at a discount. Alex Smith loves passing to McKissic, and he has a whopping 45 targets in the last five games. McKissic is a better bet for PPR fantasy points, yes, but also perhaps a better option against a 49ers defense that has done well to stop more traditional backs, as well as create pressure that could force Smith to make a lot of quick throws. He’ll be popular, but with good reason.
Chad Hansen, Houston Texans (FD: $5100, DK: $3900, Yahoo: $14)
Keke Coutee, Houston Texans (FD: $5600, DK: $5000, Yahoo: $16)
Hansen emerged as a surprise behind Keke Coutee in Week 12, the first week we glimpsed the Will Fuller-less Texans. He played nearly all of the offensive snaps, and reeled in five catches for 101 receiving yards. While Coutee had an even better day, and both remain in bargain range, Hansen is the play on DraftKings if you’re looking for a deep bargain. I’d go with Coutee again on the other two sites, where the salary difference is so much smaller. As far as matchup goes, the Colts were a tough defense last week and the Bears are going to be tough this week. Still, the volume and talent of Deshaun Watson are enough for me to roll with either of these guys.
Collin Johnson, Jacksonville Jaguars (FD: $5100, DK: $3600, Yahoo: $13)
Not to be so high on the Jaguars, but this game should be a fantasy bonanza on both sides. Johnson scares me, to be sure, but he has had significant targets in the last two games, and led the team in receiving yards both times. D.J. Chark had more targets in Week 12, but caught just two of seven. Laviska Shenault hurt his thumb, but will probably be able to play this week. Chris Conley and Keelan Cole are still around too, not to mention TE Tyler Eifert. So Johnson is hot right now, and looks to be in good shape in a good matchup, but is far from a guarantee given the crowded state of the Jaguars receiving corps. On DraftKings, the price is definitely low enough to give him a shot in a tournament lineup.
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Cole Kmet, Chicago Bears (FD: $4600, DK: $2900, Yahoo: $12)
I’ve been on Kmet watch for a few weeks and it looks like he’s starting to take over the primary TE receiving duties from Jimmy Graham (7 targets to 1 in Week 13). He could go back to obscurity, but against the Houston Texans, one of the most generous fantasy defenses (sixth overall), I love the idea of saving so much salary at TE. Darren Waller and Travis Kelce both have bottom five matchups and salaries that are sky-high this week. With plenty of options to spend up on, TE looks like a great place to save.
Logan Thomas, Washington Football Team (FD: $5200, DK: $3300, Yahoo: $12)
Another possibility to achieve that goal is Thomas, who could also pick up some extra looks with Antonio Gibson out. Thomas has been perfect the last two games, catching 4-of-4 and then 9-of-9 targets from Alex Smith. The Football team faces a tough matchup, and many will fade Thomas because the 49ers have given up the fewest fantasy points to tight ends this season, but you have to consider who they’ve played. Not a lot of great pass-catching tight ends, which skews that statistic.
Also consider: Tyler Eifert
Carolina Panthers (FD: $3400, DK: $2900, Yahoo: $17)
The Panthers aren’t high on anyone’s list of “good” defenses, but they have been improving, and for fantasy purposes, they may be the best over the last two games. They shut out the Lions in a game where they recorded five sacks, then forced three fumbles and returned two of them for touchdowns vs. Minnesota. That resulted in an average of 18 fantasy points per game. This week they face the Denver Broncos, a team averaging the second-fewest points scored this season. The Broncos also lead the league in giveaways, by a mile, with 28. Both of these are huge factors for me when I’m searching for my DFS defense and the Panthers are not only cheap, they’re also at home. They check a lot of boxes this week.