Welcome back for my Week 14 Fantasy Aces GPP picks. This is the week of parity personified. The Week 13 slate lacked chalk, and my last article was teeming with successful recommendations, so let’s try to make it a trend.
This week features a grand total of three players sporting ownership between 20% and 24%, and just one beyond 24% — David Johnson ($6800, 36%). The majority of our plays will have a certain amount of contrarianism built into them by default, so I will touch on a group of players at 5% or less and others who offer significant value.
The easiest contrarian route this week is simply to pay up for highly priced quarterbacks not named Andrew Luck. I will touch on my two favorites from that group in a moment. In addition, here is a value play at a mid-range price:
Eli Manning – $6300, 5%
Heading home after a smothering road loss in Pittsburgh, Manning should be primed for a prime time bounce back against the overrated Cowboys. It’s flying under the radar, but Dallas has allowed over 400 passing yards in two of its last four games, and those games coincide with playing against competent quarterbacks (Kirk Cousins and Ben Roethlisberger). Dallas should not have difficulty scoring points, and Eli should be able to light them up at will. He will be the week’s QB1 if this turns into a shootout like Dallas’ games versus Pittsburgh and Washington. Eli is the quarterback in the majority of my lineups.
Stack with… Odell Beckham Jr. and game stack with Dez Bryant.
If you’re able to pay up at quarterback, look at these two first:
Aaron Rodgers – $7200, 2%
Rodgers has apparently been faded due to match-up, but without Earl Thomas on the field for the Seahawks, the match-up isn’t too bad. Seattle has not been dominant when they’ve played higher-end quarterbacks, and now have to face Rodgers on the road, sans Thomas. Rodgers has thrown for at least two touchdowns in his past four games and at least 313 passing yards in three of his last four (with Week 13’s snowy, muddied-up game against Houston week as the outlier). Make sure there’s no blizzard coming down on Sunday before rolling him, but don’t hesitate to grab the floor and ceiling with Rodgers at likely the lowest ownership you’ll get him at this season.
Stack with… Naked. We just don’t know if Seattle respects Davante Adams enough to leave Richard Sherman on a single side, and the reality is Rodgers could spread the ball around.
Drew Brees – $7450, 3%
There’s no denying Brees laid an egg last week, but now it looks like the community is insistent on being wrong about him in consecutive weeks. Yes, he’s usually better at home, but that doesn’t make him invalid in away games. He’s coming off his only zero-touchdown game of the year and will surely try to make up for lost time in a friendly match-up.
Stack with… Naked. Again, the ball will be spread around. No need to chase uncertainty in target share here.
Fading David Johnson and Le’Veon Bell and not paying up at running back is contrarian enough for tournaments this week, regardless of the direction you take. Here are a couple truly ignored options:
Lamar Miller – $5100, 3%
It’s safe to say the strength of this play hinges on Miller’s ability to finish the game. He’s been banged up in-game too often of late, but the Colts should be the cure to his ailments. In their last match-up, Miller dropped 178 total yards with a pair of scores on 27 touches, and it’s blindingly apparent this should be the recipe for success for the Texans once again.
Thomas Rawls – $5700, 5%
Rawls proved last week that a bad match-up is just a slight obstacle, as he dropped 100 yards and a couple scores on the Panthers. He may need to do more of his work through the air this week, but should have a strong workload in what could turn into a very high scoring affair.
Two more to look at who are probably more contrarian than called for, but could be nice values if their workload is just a little more than what is commonly projected:
Ryan Mathews – $4450, 2%
Dion Lewis – $4400, 4%
There’s a lot to be excited about at wide receiver. Some of my favorite plays are lightly owned, and paying up at wideout instead of running back could be a huge boon this week.
Antonio Brown – $6600, 2%
After a dip in target volume due to the lack of competitiveness in their previous games, all should be remedied this week. Buffalo is not a great team, but they’re getting healthier on offense and seem to be competitive even when overmatched. This takes any concern away from using Brown, as it seems Haley opened his bag of tricks and took the air out of the football to close out their game last week. Brown is the top wide receiver play of the week, per usual, and the ownership here is mind-boggling.
Dez Bryant – $5500, 3%
It’s rare when we can say how much the schedule softens when Bryant enters a game where he’s likely to be shadowed by Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, but after dates with Josh Norman and Xavier Rhodes, here we are. This will be a high scoring affair, and Dez should see a boost in targets, catches, and yardage. He is a huge value on his salary at just 3% ownership.
Demaryius Thomas – $4800, 3%
It appears Trevor Siemian will be back just in time for Thomas to dismantle the clueless Titans secondary. The price and match-up are superb, and DT is being ignored after a couple down weeks. This is a prime bounce back spot.
Other WR notes:
I already mentioned Odell Beckham Jr ($6500, 5%) as a stacking option with Eli Manning, but he is a very strong standalone play.
If Julio Jones plays, his 1% ownership is worth throwing a dart at. If he doesn’t, I’d recommend Aldrick Robinson, not Taylor Gabriel as the replacement option.
Steve Smith at just $4300 and 8% ownership is certainly the strongest play in his price range.
No tight end is over 11% ownership. The best values are:
Zach Ertz – $4350, 5%
Eric Ebron – $4200, 2%
Cheaper and far more contrarian than called for:
Seth DeValve – $3300, 0% (Ask me about him on Twitter, could be a fun discussion)
Will Tye – $3500, 1%
Use an even mix of the following:
Minnesota Vikings – $3000, 31%
Jacksonville Jaguars – $2500, 5%
Atlanta Falcons – $2800, 3%
Miami Dolphins – $2700, 1%
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