Question: What is the best season of the year? Answer: Football season! With football season fast approaching I know some of you are getting the itch for fantasy football! Don’t you fret folks! Because you’ve got the itch, and I’ve got the scratch!
Here are my picks for the top fantasy football value buys available on Fanduel.com:
Note: If you draft all of the most expensive players I have listed here you will STILL be left with $6,200 to spare.
Ryan Tannehill, QB, Miami Dolphins ($8,000)
Tannehill might be the most underrated player in all of fantasy football (and the NFL, for that matter). Tannehill finished last season as the only quarterback to throw for over 4,000 yards and rush for over 300 yards. This makes him one of very few NFL quarterbacks to be a legit threat on the ground and in the air. This season will only be better for the 4th year pro, as I believe the Dolphins might have the most diverse arsenal of offensive weapons in the entire NFL. That coupled with the fact’s that Miami’s week one opponent is the Washington Redskins (a team that finished as the third worst fantasy defense last season, and is projected to be worse this year), and Tannehill is the 12th most expensive quarterback option (with upwards of top 5 potential), I would say the Dolphins passer is a great option to take as your week one FanDuel fantasy quarterback.
Teddy Bridgewater, QB, Minnesota Vikings ($7,200)
Teddy Bridgewater fell under the radar last season as he struggled early on. But by the end of the season Bridgewater looked like a seasoned pro. Over the last five weeks of the regular season Bridgewater had a passer rating of 105.5, had a respectable TD-INT ratio of 8-4, and threw for 1,230 yards. This season Teddy will actually get to play with Adrian Peterson behind him, he will have a full year’s experience in the dynamic Norv Turner’s offense, and has one of the most effective playmakers in the game to throw the ball to in Mike Wallace. The Vikings do take on the 49ers in week one, which in past years would have been a matchup to avoid, but this is NOT the same Niner’s squad that has been among the NFL’s stiffest defenses for the last five years. As a less expensive option than middle of the pack (at best) quarterbacks like Sam Bradford and Robert Griffin III, Bridgewater is a great option if you are looking for a quarterback on a budget.
Darren McFadden, RB, Dallas Cowboys ($6,500)
I hate picking Darren McFadden, as it has burned me many times in the past. But McFadden’s potential, alongside undoubtedly the best O-line in football makes for an extremely intriguing prospect. Joseph Randle is expected to be used as the Cowboys RB1, but I believe that McFadden is the more dynamic runner and pass catcher, and will give defenses fits as a change of pace back. I believe early on this season McFadden will have a huge game, and burst back onto fantasy radars everywhere with a vengeance. I don’t see why it couldn’t happen week one against a lackluster Giants defense. McFadden is certainly a risk, but has huge upside potential. If you really want to make a FanDuel team that pops, and you have $6,500 left and one running back to choose, McFadden could be the guy to put your squad over the top.
Shane Vereen, RB, New York Giants ($6,500)
In a Giants offense that is throwing the ball more than ever, Shane Vereen has legit superstar potential. Vereen is expected to play the role of third down back in this offense, and is also expected to be used on most passing downs as he is the best blocking back the Giants have. Add in an aging Rashad Jennings and an underwhelming Andre Williams, and one can be sure that Vereen won’t just be seeing the majority of passing downs, but also will get plenty of opportunities on running downs. At $6,500 I think Vereen will give you the best bang for your buck at the running back position, and at that cost I would consider him regardless of opponent.
Ameer Abdullah, RB, Detroit Lions ($5,900)
Joique Bell is still the bruiser in the Lions offense (for now), but he has been suffering this offseason with Achilles and knee injuries. Meanwhile, Abdullah has been getting the highest of praise throughout OTA’s, making it very possible that Bell’s spot atop the running back depth chart could be in jeopardy. Abdullah fits the Detroit offense extraordinarily well, as he is a speedy back with great hands, and will easily slip in to the void that Reggie Bush left behind. I liked Abdullah to come on strong as the season wore on, but with the uncertainty surrounding Bell it is possible that the fresh and speedy Abdullah may get his shot at the big time earlier than expected. Couple all this with the fact that the Lions are playing a pedestrian-at-best run defense in the Chargers, and I believe that Abdullah is poised to make a big splash in his first NFL regular season game.
Jordan Matthews, WR, Philadelphia Eagles ($6,800)
Matthews is coming off a good rookie season, and is definitely expected to take the next step towards stardom this year. The Eagles are definitely a team that is going to look to run the ball a lot, and while this logic may seem a little counterintuitive, I believe the rush happy Eagles offense just increases the value of Matthews. Let me explain. With the likes of Demarco Murray and Ryan Matthews at running back, and the great pass catching tight ends Brent Celek and Zach Ertz on the field, defenses are going to have to play tight to the line against the Eagles. This is going to open up a TON of space in the secondary, and Matthews is far away the best weapon the Eagles possess at the wide receiver position. Which means that Matthews will be the primary beneficiary of the pass game. While Matthews won’t be seeing as many targets as guys like Golden Tate, or Alshon Jeffery, who play in pass happy offenses, the targets that Matthews’ will see will have a much higher percentage of success than those other guys. Matthews has high end WR2 to low end WR1 potential this season, and is definitely undervalued by FanDuel.
Victor Cruz, WR, New York Giants ($6,300)
I think the immense hype that O’dell Beckham generated last year is making people sleep on Victor Cruz a little bit. Defenses are going to be looking to double team Beckham, which just opens up the floodgates for Cruz to go off. I think as the season wears on teams are going to realize that Cruz is still a home run threat and they are going to back up accordingly. But until then I expect Cruz to dominate like it is 2012. Cruz will put up 100+ yards, and will do at least one salsa dance against the Cowboys week one, and is without a doubt the best bang for your buck at the wide receiver position on Fanduel.
Breshad Perriman, WR, Baltimore Ravens ($5,500)
Breshad Perriman is a BIG TIME potential sleeper this season. The Ravens offense is in dire straits after losing Torrey Smith, and their only remaining offensive weapons are the 36-year old wide receiver Steve Smith, and the 30-year old running back Justin Forsett. The Ravens also lost their zone running guru Offensive Coordinator in Gary Kubiak, and hired the extremely pass happy Marc Trestman as his replacement. More passing means more opportunity for Perriman to standout, and with the cannon-armed Joe Flacco hurling him balls I believe Perriman will finish as one of the top 2 rookie wide receivers this fantasy season. At $5,500 Perriman is barely more expensive than some of the kickers on Fanduel, and is definitely worth consideration when drafting your week one team.
Josh Hill, TE, New Orleans Saints ($5,200)
Everyone thinks that either Drew Brees or Russell Wilson will be the player most affected by the Jimmy Graham trade, but I disagree. I believe that the player who will be most impacted by that trade is Josh Hill. Drew Brees will throw for close to 5,000 yards regardless of who is on his team, and Seattle will remain a run first (except on the 2 yard line with the world championship on the line) team even with Graham on the squad. But Josh Hill figures to see a TON more snaps, and opportunities in this year’s Saint’s offense. I expect the underrated Hill to finish close to the top 5 among fantasy tight ends this season, and I expect him to be one of the most consistent tight ends in the game. As the 17th most expensive tight end on Fanduel I defy you to find someone who will deliver more bang for your back at this position!
Matt Prater, K, Detroit Lions ($4,700)
The fantasy Kicker position is all about the matchup, and Detroit’s week one matchup against San Diego is one of the most favorable in the NFL. If you also consider that Prater is the 19th most expensive kicker and is a guy who can certainly boot it from beyond 50 yards, it’s really a no-brainer that Prater will deliver the most return on your investment.
Denver Broncos DEF/ST ($4,200)
Much like the Kicker position, the Defense position on your fantasy squad is entirely reliant on the match-up. I believe with the new pass happy offensive system being implored by the Ravens that there will be at least a few miscues during the early part of the season. These miscues should lead to a couple of extra interceptions and sacks early for Flacco. With that in mind it is safe to say that Denver has a good chance at posting some strong defensive stats week one. At only $200 more than the last ranked Oakland and Chicago defenses, Denver is a very strong choice.