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In this weekly DraftDay value report, we’ll take a look at values by comparing a player’s FantasyPros Expert Consensus Ranking to their salary rank. For instance, if Tom Brady is the 3rd overall quarterback according to ECR, but he’s ranked 10th in salary, there’s potentially a value there. I’ll dig deeper, looking at the matchup and the players historical performance through the lense of our GLSP projections and recommend a value/pass grade. In the end, it’s up to you to pick which players to play. Is Aaron Rodgers technically a value if he’s 2nd in ECR but 5th in salary? Yes, but Matthew Stafford might be 5th in ECR and ranked 14th in salary and is the better play.

As always, don’t forget to diversify your lineups, and remember to always play within your means. Be sure to check out our DraftDay Lineup Dominator to see how these players fit into your weekly strategy. You can sign up for DraftDay here.

Quarterbacks

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Michael Vick 5 6 $16,700

Using GLSP to project this week based on Vick’s first month in Chip Kelly’s new offense, we find very encouraging results: a 13.5 point low projection, 23.7 point median projection, and a 28.8 high projection. The Giants haven’t defended the pass all that well, and this game is shaping up to be a offensive fireworks show. (In fact, 3 different Eagles show up on this value report).

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Philip Rivers 6 10 $16,100

If you predicted that Philip Rivers would be the #3 quarterback in fantasy through the first month of the season, congratulations, you’re way smarter than I am. Outside of week 3, the San Diego signal caller is crushing it despite having what is by far the worst wide receiver corp in the NFL. River’s high projection against the terrible Oakland defense is a mind boggling 33.7 points.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Eli Manning 11 17.5 $12,900

The difference in Manning’s projection based on the first month of 2013 and his projection based on his last 16 games is barely 1 point on either end of the spectrum. This confirms what a few of us at rotoViz thought: Manning is a low upside QB2, and is exactly the wrong kind of player to base the late round quarterback strategy around. The only reason to play Manning is the matchup, but there are better players available at this price.

Grade: Pass

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Colin Kaepernick 12 21.5 $12,100
GLSP is not a fan of Colin Kaepernick, and neither am I. Kaep is going against the same Houston defense that held Russell Wilson to 10.6 points in a very close game. Focusing on the 2013 season doesn’t change the projection dramatically. Pryor is $200 more, but he’s a much better play than Kaepernick.

Grade: Pass

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Terrelle Pryor 13 20 $12,300
Pryor draws a San Diego defense that has been absolutely torched this season. Rivers is going to shred the Oakland secondary, and the Raiders will be playing at a frenetic offensive pace to keep up. Pryor’s GLSP high projection is 3 points less than Vick’s for 3/4’s the price. The average of his low/median/high projections is 3 points more than Kaepernicks high. This is as no-brainer as it gets for DFS.

Grade: Extreme Value

Running Backs

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Frank Gore 7 16 $10,150

On paper, Gore’s matchup against a tough Houston run defense does not look good. Digging deeper, we see that Houston shutdown Bernard Pierce, Ryan Mathews, and Chris Johnson; not exactly a group of All-Pros. Marshawn Lynch had no trouble against the Texans run defense, and Gore is easily the best running back they’ve faced yet. The GLSP app projects Gore’s high as 14.6 points in PPR, a number easily attainable in this matchup.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Ray Rice 9 15 $10,300

Assuming Ray Rice’s is 100%, he’ll be a value on DraftDay. In his first 2 games, Rice faced two top 10 run defenses and injured his hip. In the 3rd game, the Ravens fell behind and decided to let their $100 million sub 60% passing quarterback throw the ball 50 times. Coach John Harbaugh has vowed to get Rice involved in “every single way.” Miami sports a a bottom 10 run defense, so plug Rice into your lineups and watch the fantasy points roll.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Chris Johnson 10 22 $9,400

Chris Johnson draws a brutal matchup this week against Kansas City’s top 4 run defense. Johnson’s low salary and high GLSP projection are leading me to believe there’s value to be had here… but I refuse to fall into that trap. Johnson was a sub-3.5 YPC runner before Jake Locker’s untimely hip injury. With the scattershot Ryan Fitzpatrick taking over, defenses have 1 player to key in on: Johnson. Even if the Titans get within touchdown plunging distance, Johnson doesn’t have a carry inside the 5 this season, being subbed for “bruiser” Jackie Battle.

Grade: Pass

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Maurice Jones-Drew 15 37 $7,250

If MJD is going to produce at all this season, this will be the week. The only two teams worse at defending the run than St. Louis are Jacksonville and Washington. Perhaps we should issue MJD a mulligan for playing nothing but top 15 run defenses the first month of the season while simultaneously seeing his first live action in over a year. If we adjust GLSP to project based off of his last 4 games, but assume he gets 15 touches, MJD still has an 18.1 point median projection, and a 23.8 point high projection. The floor? 7.9. Is it possible that the return of Justin Blackmon provides the right amount of mediocre spark to give MJD room to run? Is it also possible that the trading of Eugene Monroe further cripples the already 2nd worst run blocking unit in the league? I think you can talk yourself into a situation where he’s a value play, but it’s safer to just stay away.

Grade: Pass

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
David Wilson 17 34 $7,650

This is the week. I can feel it. The terribad Eagles run defense is giving up 18.1 points per game to running backs this season. The Giants offense should finally come together against this sieve opposite them. Da’Rel Scott has been cut, leaving rookie Michael Cox and plodder Brandon Jacobs as the only other running backs on the roster. Similar to MJD, I think it’s safe to assume at least 15 touches. Wilson is a boom/bust play, but I like him a hell of a lot more than I do his Jaguar counterpart.

Grade: Risky

Wide Receivers

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
DeSean Jackson 11 19 $12,050

Jackson will be going up against New York Giants cornerback Terrell Thomas (-2.7 PFF) this Sunday, in a game that will be a fast-paced, high-scoring affair. Jackson is clearly a matchup play; he victimized the poor secondaries of San Diego and Washington, but was held in check by Denver and the league’s best coverage unit in Kansas City. Expect results closer to the SD/WAS games than the DEN/KC ones.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Hakeem Nicks 20 34 $8,600

GLSP reveals what we all know about Nicks at this point: he has a low floor (5.1 PPR points), and a high ceiling (15.7 points). This is a cake puff matchup for Nicks; last time he went against some bad cornerbacks he dropped a 5 catch, 114 yard line on Dallas. He’ll draw either the average Bradley Fletcher (-1.7 coverage rating) or the overrated Cary Williams (-2.3 coverage rating).

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Roddy White 26 70 $6,100

For a primer on White’s prospects, I suggest reading why the Douche just traded for him. From that piece: “I re-watched White’s targets from the Sunday night game and saw some room for encouragement. First, he had 9 targets so that’s good. Also he drew a DPI on a deep target. A severely hobbled White shouldn’t be drawing DPIs in the deep part of the field. White also had a target at the NE 2 yard line that probably should have been a completion (and maybe a TD) if Matt Ryan hadn’t thrown the ball 3 yards behind White.” After only playing 60% of snaps the first 3 games, White played 74 of 76 possible snaps against the Patriots. Despite the positives, White still couldn’t gain separation against the Patriots defensive backs. Leave him in the pool this week, and eye his week 7 return when he’ll surely be a bargain.

Grade: Pass

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Justin Blackmon 32 68.5 $6,150

Blackmon is one of those daily plays that just screams to be in your lineup. Having been suspended the first 4 weeks of the season, he enters DraftDay at a modest $6,150, sandwiched between Ace Sanders and Harry Douglas. The Jacksonville offense is in dire need of a real WR2. Ace Sanders has been doing Ace Sanders things (read: nothing) with his near 7 targets a game, and Cecil Shorts leads the NFL in targets (!!!). There’s room for Blackmon in this passing offense, and the matchup can’t get much better.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Tavon Austin 36 60 $6,550

Outside of Austin’s 12 target/2 touchdown game versus the Falcons, you’re looking at a $6,550 flex play. GLSP projects Austin’s high at 10.8 points, or nearly exactly what he scored against the Cardinals and Cowboys. Unless he finds the endzone, you’re looking at a 6 catch/35 yards type of game from Austin. The matchup is juicy, but I could see Chris Givens, Jared Cook, or Austin Pettis going off against the Jaguars. (If you must, play Austin Pettis; his salary is $550 cheaper than Austin).

Grade: Pass

Tight Ends

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Julius Thomas 5 7.5 $9,650
The Cowboys rank 26th in points allowed to tight ends, giving up 11.7 points per game (4for4). The problem with Thomas is that if he doesn’t score a touchdown, you’ll be left wanting more. While he certainly has been good, and a lot better than most of us expected, he’s not in the same stratosphere as a guy like Jordan Cameron. Still, he does catch passes from the best quarterback in football, and the Cowboys pass defense has not been good.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Vernon Davis 8 11.5 $8,950

Vernon Davis is a definite avoid this week. The Texans have given up the 3rd least amount of points to tight ends, and we all know the downside with Davis: he just might not be used. His high projection is a paltry 11 points, and the low is just vomit inducing.

Grade: Pass

Player Fantasy Pros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Dallas Clark          17          26      $6,450

This season, the Dolphins have decided to go with the “don’t cover the tight end” strategy and see what happens. It hasn’t worked. They’ve given up lines of 4/100/2 to Jimmy Graham, 9/108/1 to Jordan Cameron, and 4/69/1 to Coby Fleener. You’re hoping for volume here, as Clarks best line came when he was targeted 12 times, barely catching over 50% of them. The low salary makes the risk worth it.

Grade: Value

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Kellen Winslow 18 33 $5,500

Assuming Stephen Hill misses Monday night’s game, the Jets will be rolling out Jeremy Kerley and Edmond Gates at wide receiver. It seems like Winslow is in for another 9+ target game against an okay Atlanta pass defense. As with any Jets player this week, there’s significant risk that he does nothing.

Grade: Risky

Player FantasyPros ECR Salary Rank Salary
Brent Celek 20 29 $5,950

Celek’s season high for targets is 6; he caught 3 of them for 57 yards. Unless he scores, you’ll be screwed. His high projection in GLSP is 4.4 points in PPR. Just don’t.

Grade: Pass

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