When trying to figure out a strategy for any process, there is one point that everyone must realize: when it’s time to go back to the drawing board.
I know, “so-called experts” should never admit they were wrong, but man was I bad on my recommendations last week.
Not all were completely my fault, but some definitely were (I’m looking at you Alshon Jeffery!!!).
After a week that saw none of my position player suggestions reach the 12-point mark, I need to get back to the basics and see what has worked with my Weekly Value-Based Drafting strategy and see where I steered wrong last week.
- Inexpensive quarterbacks: I had made my hay earlier in the season by pouncing on the under-priced Cam Newton’s and Carson Palmer’s of the league. Last week my top pick was Aaron Rodgers, who had a decent game but was not worth the price tag.
- Back-up running backs: All season long I had been preaching taking the back-up running back with an expanded role. It had worked splendidly with the early starting weeks of Devonta Freeman, Charcandrick West, DeAngelo Williams and Jeremy Langford. However last week, I found there is a breaking point on these backs as both Darren McFadden and Giovani Bernard under-performed.
- Elite wide receivers: If anyone still has the ridiculous notion that you have to go running back early, they are an idiot. Of the Top 10 scoring backs in half-point PPR leagues, only one was drafted in the first round. Out of the Top 33, only TWO were drafted in the first round and not on IR right now.
- Of the Top 6 drafted receivers, four are the leading four in the same scoring, then Demaryius Thomas is 17th (QB injuries) and Dez Bryant needed a QB injury and his own to slow him down. Elite receivers are the way to go in both weekly and season-long formats because of the target guarantee.
- Extreme tight ends: Either take a super cheap value at the position, or take one of the top two or three. I had Jordan Reed last week and he was my best performer.
The other issue last week was the bad luck I had with injuries. I had Landry Jones and Julian Edelman, who both got hurt, then Thomas had to deal with the Peyton Manning injury.
So let’s try to use what has worked to get back on the winning side of things.
As usual these prices and projections are for the Fan Duel style of play, but I have thrown in a few Draft Kings nuggets as well. The Value Factor (VF) is a quantity of the player’s projected points against the cost to put him on your roster.
Value-Based Drafting Targets
Value of the Week: Darren McFadden, VF : 4.01
Okay, I know, I just said he disappointed last week, but hear me out. With Tony Romo coming back, everyone assumes the Cowboys will be slinging the ball everywhere. I believe that it will just cause the Miami defense to play more of a shell over the top, opening up wide running lanes for McFadden.
In essence, it is like a back-up getting a larger role because McFadden has not started a game with Romo under center yet. I have him projected as the third-highest scoring running back and he is the 16th most expensive on both Fan Duel and Draft Kings.
Alex Smith, VF : 3.66
Matthew Stafford, VF : 3.75
Alex Smith put up more than 15 points against the good Broncos’ defense last week, now he gets a Chargers team that gives up the third-highest quarterback rating in the league. When he played the team with the highest quarterback rating allowed, Detroit, he put up 27.6 points. At just $6,200 the value is there.
Stafford gets to face Oakland, who is giving up almost 300 yards through the air per game.
Devonta Freeman, VF : 4.65
Charcandrick West, VF : 4.66
Frank Gore, VF : 4.98
James White, VF : 5.00
Freeman should be your elite option every week, as that whole offense rolls through him and with the week off he should be ready to go. Charcandrick West has at least 19.9 points in the last three weeks, scoring more each game. I think he has figured out the outlet game for Alex Smith and they are a strong stack. He’s my fourth-highest projected back this week at the 11th highest cost.
Gore is the 19th highest back in price and I have him as the sixth-highest projection. With Hasselbeck in, I expect Gore to be a workhorse. Tom Brady only had four targets toward running backs last week, and they needed a last minute field goal to win. I expect that to change with no Edelman and I’m rolling with James White as the guy to get the targets.
West is even cheaper than McFadden on Draft Kings, and I also like the super cheap Theo Riddick as a stack with Stafford.
Julio Jones, VF : 4.88
Larry Fitzgerald, VF : 5.02
Calvin Johnson, VF : 5.03
Jeremy Maclin, VF : 5.09
As I said in the opening, I am going elite only at wideout. With Antonio Brown and Odell Beckham on bye weeks, that leaves Jones, Fitzgerald and Johnson as my top-three scoring projections. Fitz’ price is super juicy at just $7,400, while Julio and Megatron are a little pricier, but worth it for the guarantee.
Maclin is a cheaper option and a good stack for Alex Smith. As I said with the previous game against a terrible pass defense (Detroit), the stack was strong.
Danny Amendola and Stevie Johnson are filling elite level voids on their teams, and both have good prices on Draft Kings ($4,000 and $3,900 respectively).
Greg Olsen, VF : 5.32
Rob Gronkowski, VF : 5.43
With all but three startable tight ends in the $5,000-$6,000 range, it is really hard to decipher value there. With that said, I will take an elite option depending on how much money I have to spend. I have these two as my top two projections with only a slight difference, so I will lean toward the cheaper Olsen ($2,000 less on Fan Duel).
Draft Kings lists Eric Ebron at just $3,500, giving a more inexpensive value.
My All-Value Team
QB: Alex Smith
RB: Charcandrick West
RB: Darren McFadden
WR: Julio Jones
WR: Larry Fitzgerald
WR: Jeremy Maclin
TE: Rob Gronkowski
DST: Chicago Bears
K: Matt Prater
As I said, I will roll with the ultimate Chiefs’ stack again with Smith, West and Maclin. When you throw in my value of the week McFadden, with elite pass catchers Jones, Fitzgerald and Gronkowski, this team has a very high floor with a pretty solid ceiling.
I like the Chicago defense getting Brock Osweiler in his first start. Another option that intrigues me is swapping Olsen for Gronkowski and the Seahawks’ defense for Chicago as they get Blaine Gabbert which is always lucrative.
Let’s try to bounce back this week and make some money!
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