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Friday 24th Mar 2017

This week, $200 will buy you a 1 in 5988 shot at $150,000. Who wants some? We’re entering Week 16 and the fantasy season is just about to come to a close. The following aren’t necessarily the BEST plays, but they are options that might exceed their required salary on Fanduel.com.

Quarterbacks

Kirk Cousins ($7,000 vs. Dallas) acquitted himself well in his first start of the season, throwing for 381 yards and three touchdowns. The Cowboys secondary is beatable and they can put up points. This is very important and bears repeating because half of the battle is having a quarterback that NEEDS to score points, particularly after halftime. Philip Rivers owners experienced this pain Thursday night, when scoring wasn’t a top priority of the San Diego Chargers offense. First and foremost in offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt’s mind was milking the clock, running and keeping the ball out of Peyton Manning’s hands. Rivers completed only five passes for 77 yards in the 2nd half. He only attempted one pass in the fourth quarter that was incomplete (and wiped out by a penalty). By contrast, San Diego rushed 24 times. That translates to fantasy death for your starting QB.

Others worth a look: Jay Cutler ($8,000 at Philadelphia) and Ryan Fitzpatrick ($7,700 at Jacksonville). If Case Keenum is out and Matt Schaub ($6,500 vs. Denver) gets the nod, the frequent interception machine will likely be playing from behind and forced to throw against Peyton Manning and the Denver Broncos. There’s a decent chance he will crash and burn, but if you’re looking for the cheapest possible play with upside, he has eclipsed 20 points thrice this season and has Andre Johnson as a target.

Running Backs

Dennis Johnson ($4,500 vs. Denver) has speed to burn and is a big play waiting to happen if the Texans can just get the rock to him in space. Ben Tate aggravated his rib injury and Johnson would be a bargain if he gets the start.

Matt Asiata ($5,800 at Cincinnati) demonstrated that merely getting touches is the most important part of the fantasy equation, finding pay dirt three times against the Eagles. Owners chasing last week’s touchdown barrage might get burned. Remember Bobby Rainey’s lackluster follow-up after he stampeded the Falcons? The Bengals defense is rather stingy on the ground (27th in fantasy points against) but if both Adrian Peterson and Toby Gerhart are out, Asiata will get another start at a relatively inexpensive price.

Other cheap options: Montee Ball ($5,100 at Houston), Jordan Todman ($5,800 vs. Tennessee – if Maurice Jones-Drew is inactive), Joique Bell ($6,600 vs. New York Giants), Andre Ellington ($6,000 at Seattle), Rashad Jennings ($7,500 at San Diego).

Wide Receivers

Justin Hunter ($5,000 at Jacksonville) posted over 100 yards and a touchdown both in Week 12 and again in Week 14. He violated team rules and as a result was a surprise inactive on Sunday. I love motivated, talented players with something to prove in situations like this.

Pierre Garcon ($7,300) has 154 targets on the year (3rd in the NFL), so it’s not as though Robert Griffin III has neglected him. The problem though is that in truth, this year it does seem that he ignores him most of the time on most plays. I’m not impressed with RGIII’s progressions. He so frequently fails to go through his reads. When he’s not throwing to Garcon, it’s obvious that he’s not going to throw to him. He’s been wide open for big plays more than I can count, and yet, on those particular plays it’s apparent the sophomore from Baylor has no intention of targeting Garcon. Instead, he’s going to force it to someone on the opposite side of the field, because he’s not looking anywhere else. The defense picks up on this and I have to think that it has led, in part, to his 11.9 yards per catch average (compared to 13.5 and 14.4 the last two years).

Other inexpensive WR options: Julian Edelman ($6,700 at Baltimore), Cordarrelle Patterson ($5,800 at Cincinnati), Marques Colston ($6,300 at Carolina), Marvin Jones ($4,900 vs. Minnesota).

Tight Ends

Jimmy Graham’s two catches for 25 yards reminds us that any player at any position can usually be shut down merely by the defense willing it so. Graham was double and triple teamed all night. He still remains the clear-cut number one option at tight end and will only cost $7,700 this week against the Panthers, against whom Graham caught six passes for 68 yards and two scores just two weeks ago.

Other options: Tony Gonzalez ($5,600 at San Francisco), Charles Clay ($5,500 at Buffalo), Delanie Walker ($5,200 at Jacksonville). 

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