Happy Holidays! I hope this weekend you add to your merriment by winning some cash. These players will have you feeling more like the Grinch if you overspend or ignore the bad matchups we are about to highlight below. Let's go!
I use the DraftKings salary cap as my basis for picks, which operates on a 50k salary but I know we have many FanDuel players as well. For reference, Fanduel operates on a 60k salary, so prices will appear higher on that platform.
QB- Mitch Trubisky vs. SF @ $6,300
Mitchell "Don't call me Mitch" Trubisky has been up and down this season. Overall, he has shown flashes of being a franchise QB, but lately, it hasn't translated into fantasy points. Over his last 3 games, he has failed to reach 20 fantasy points and has thrown four touchdowns and five interceptions.
While the Niners are in the bottom five in opponent passer rating, I don't see the upside for Trubisky at his current price tag. The Bears defense will neutralize the Niners, rendering Trubisky a game manager, whose main job is to not make mistakes. There are better QB bargains for your lineup this week.
RB-Kenyan Drake vs. Jax @ $3,900
Kenyan Drake has been bothered by a shoulder injury the past few weeks, but what should be more troubling for his stock is the emergence
of Kalen Ballage. Ballage ran hard last week and turned only 12 carries into 123 yards. He added a 75-yard explosive touchdown run, showcasing his breakaway speed along with his power. Drake, on the other hand, hasn't reached 15 fantasy points in the past three games. With the season slipping out of reach, the Dolphins would be wise to ride the hot hand in Ballage.
One last thing we should mention is that they are playing the Jaguars. While that defense has had a roller coaster season, at its core it is a strong defense with a lot of pride. If you want to start Ballage in lieu of Drake, I won't blame you. The price tag is even lower for Ballage, but I'd just avoid this backfield all together this week.
WR-Michael Thomas vs. Pit @ $8,100
Michael Thomas is an insanely talented wide receiver. Let me start with that. Lately, his fantasy production has been a mixed bag though. A few times this season Thomas has been the equivalent of paying for a filet mignon and getting a McDonald's McDouble instead.
While the Saints can put up points in a lot of different ways, that sometimes is what hamstrings Thomas. Kamara is the featured player in this offense, with Thomas a close second. Add in Mark Ingram and ancillary pieces that are beneficiaries of Drew Brees spreading the ball around, and you have an inconsistent workload.
In his past five games, Thomas has reached 20 fantasy points only once. Twice in that span, he has registered single-digit outputs. That isn't someone I can rely on, especially if I am shelling out over $8k for him on DraftKings. I need more consistency if I am going to plop down that kind of dough. Thomas doesn't give me that, so even in a good matchup with the Steelers, I will have to look elsewhere for a better value.
TE-George Kittle vs. Chi @ $6,000
I know I faded Kittle last week against the Seahawks, but it worked didn't it? Kittle was held to only 3 catches for 51 yards. Now facing an even better Chicago Bears defense, Kittle's projections don't inspire me. Since the tight end pool is shallow this year, I could understand if you want to roll the dice, but he is the highest-priced tight end this week on DraftKings. I just can't fathom Nick Mullens being able to do much through the air versus the Monsters of Midway defense.
I think the Niners run the ball and mix in some passing, which may leave Kittle with a decent line. For me, I think there are better bargains out there than to than to overspend on a very good tight end in a bad matchup.
WR-Sterling Shepard vs. Ind @ $4,300
Now with Odell Beckham Jr. out, it would seem natural to assume the No. 2 wide receiver behind him would a good addition. However, Saquon Barkley is and should be, the top offensive option. Evan Engram took on the volume pass-catcher role with OBJ out last week, so there's a chance he does that again.
Shepard has only scored more than 10 fantasy points once in the past seven contests, even with OBJ out for a couple of those games. On paper, it seems like a good option and a bargain to get the de facto top receiver in an offense, but in this instance, it shouldn't warrant an automatic spot on your roster.
DST-Browns vs. Cin @ $3,000
Look, the Bengals are really banged up and on their backup QB. I don't think they will light up the Browns defense, but their main offensive weapon will be running back Joe Mixon. Who wants to guess where Cleveland's defense ranks in rushing yards per game? Go ahead, I'll wait. Google it if you want to. It's 29th. That's...not great.
While the Browns are favored by 8.5 points (Wow!) I don't expect their defense to totally shut down the Bengals. This is a classic case of whose defense can actually make a stop, as the Bengals defensive ranks near the bottom of the league as well. I like bargain defenses, but this isn't a juicy enough matchup to entice me.
Best of luck to everyone and here’s to hoping your squad shows out — and you cash out.