FanDuel has a few huge contests this weekend; a two million dollar GPP with a $25 entry, and a million-dollar contest you can get in to for just five bucks.
In these huge tournaments where the pricing has been out for a month, you’re going to have to take a shot on a couple guys that the rest of the field might overlook. Before we get to the picks, remember, I’m not advocating you start all of the plays listed below. Being contrarian doesn’t mean you enter a crappy lineup that no one else would ever dream of submitting. The idea is to pick a couple spots where you’ll be different, and fill out the rest of your lineup with studs.
QB: Brock Osweiler - $7,100
If you play season-long fantasy football, Osweiler is out there on your waiver wire. Take a minute to check…
For the ‘why no one else is going to play him’ portion of the story: The last time the football watching world saw Osweiler play, he was relieving everyone’s favorite pizza salesman Peyton Manning. With a very solid pair of receivers in Denver, Osweiler threw 10 touchdowns and 6 interceptions. And, his name is Brock. Hard to get behind that backstory.
And now for the fun part, the ‘why this is such a brilliant play’ segment. Bill O’Brien made Bryan Hoyer look like a decent quarterback at times last year. O’Brien squeezed 200 yards and 2 touchdowns out of Brandon Weeden in Week 16 against the Titans.
In this year’s draft, the Texans added some legit depth to the receiving corps with 1st round pick Will Fuller and 3rd rounder Braxton Miller. Both rookies flashed this preseason, and of course DeAndre Hopkins has never met a quarterback he can’t jam with. The Bears secondary comes in to this game already reeling from injuries, and that unit wasn’t exactly the Legion of Boom to begin with. The Texans could dominate this game. If we can avoid Lamar Miller rushing touchdowns, Osweiler could post a big game trying to justify that new $17 million a year deal.
RB: Ryan Matthews - $6,100
The hope here is that everyone will look to save a buck on guys like Spencer Ware and LeGarrette Blount. Matthews’ price may make him just unpopular enough to give you a unique play with amazing upside.
Talent has never been a question with Matthews. In limited work this preseason he’s looked good. Rookie QB Carson Wentz is slated to start so there should be no shortage of touches. While the Browns may not quite be the dumpster fire I thought they would be in year one with Hue Jackson, I think the Eagles running game will take advantage of poor Cleveland.
A healthy Ryan Matthews against a bad Browns squad with a rookie QB under center could add up to a very tasty day for Mathews.
WR: Mike Evans - $7,900
We’ve got another option here that is a bit pricey, but Evans still has great potential help bring home that GPP. Neither Atlanta nor Tampa Bay bothered to play much defense last year. The Falcons gave up 26.1 pts a game, the Bucs 25.6 (ranking 6th and 8th worst respectively). Evans is a prototypical receiver with great height and good speed. He rapped with then rookie quarterback Jameis Winston, even if the duo ended up a little light in touchdown department.
This pick is half my love of Evans size and ball-skills, and half my budding love for Winston. We’ve only got a few years left with the old guard of Drew Brees and Tom Brady, but we’re at the very beginning of the Newton-Wilson-Winston era. If Jameis can put his Roethlisberger-esque ways behind him, he has the arm talent and fearlessness you look to build around. But, enough about the distant future, I think this pair looks to put their poor red-zone production behind them early, and you’ll want Evans leading your receiving corps when that party gets started.
TE: Antonio Gates - $6,200
I’m usually torn between picking a bottom of the barrel play and hoping for that random TD and paying up for a big time weapon like Jordan Reed or Gronk Smash.
I’ll take a game San Diego is expected to lose as shot at the two touchdown upside we know Gates and Rivers have in them. Gates is a hall of famer and is easily the Rivers’ favorite option in the red zone. It’s a pretty simple analysis with this one, Gates is good, plug him in when everyone else will be taking shots on Jarred Cook and Delanie Walker.
DST: Texans - $4,900
I can’t stop plugging in the Texans against the turnover prone Jay Cutler. This game has one of the biggest spreads of the week (Texans -6) and Jadeveon Clowney is showing signs of why the Texans took him first overall a few years ago, and if we can believe what we’re hearing on Sunday night-eve-day, JJ Watt is a full go.
If I think I can get some sacks on a team that has a chance to get out to a big lead, then I’ll take it.
K: Matt Prater - $4,600
Prater gives you a piece of a game with a huge over under (50.5) that is expected to be close (Indy -3). Weather wont be an issue in the cozy dome in Indianapolis so Prater is my low-cost play this week.