These fantasy football GPP plays will help you find the hidden gems that will lead you to the top of the leaderboard!
Last week, Jimmy Clausen exceeded expectations with a 15.14 FP performance, Geno Smith was adequate with 12.30 against the Patriots, and Chris Polk didn’t see a single carry. Eddie Royal exploded for 25.4 FP and Jordan Cameron destroyed value with a 17.80 FP game. Harry Douglas and C.J. Spiller were busts, but overall, there were some great plays to be had from my Week 16 GPP plays. This week, I’m looking to exploit players who may have more potential as a result of the playoff picture.
Disclaimer: First off, these plays are meant to be considered as tournament-only options. Second, these are boom-or-bust plays, who could end up putting up a complete dud of a game, or being the guy who explodes for 30 fantasy points and carries you to a GPP victory. Third, use these plays with caution, because they have do have inherent risk. Along with their high ceiling and point potential, there is also a low floor and lack of consistency. Alright, enough disclaimers! These are the players I believe can be the difference between your lineups minimum cashing in a GPP or winning the whole damn thing.
Andy Dalton ($11,500) at Pittsburgh- This game means everything to the Steelers and Bengals, with the AFC North title and a home playoff game on the line. The Bengals even have an outside shot at earning a bye if they beat Pittsburgh and the Raiders knock of the Broncos. Cincinnati finally got a primetime win last week, although Dalton still wasn’t great. Football Outsiders (FO) has the Steelers ranked at 31st against the pass, and Dalton was tremendous against them week 14, with 21/29 passing for 302 yards and three total scores. More often than not, Dalton has played poorly in big games, but a solid performance against this same team last time out leaves him with confidence. I’m looking to target cheap QB in games that still matter, and Dalton fits the bill.
Robert Griffin III ($10,500) vs Dallas- This is another unique scenario. It looks like RGIII’s time with the Redskins may be coming to an end, so this week will likely be his audition for a possible suitor. This game has a solid 49 point total, and Dallas has little to play for outside of a very slim chance at securing a bye if Seattle and Arizona lose. Griffin followed up a solid performance against the Giants with a dud last week vs Philadelphia, but could be in line for a nice day against a Cowboys defense that FO has ranked 22nd against the pass. If you believe in the “Contract Year” narrative, you can consider this one a “Contract Game”.
Ka’Deem Carey ($4,000) at Minnesota - The Bears’ disappointing season will come to a close Sunday against the Vikings, and they may be looking to audition players for the future. I’m not expecting Matt Forte to see a huge workload, as the Bears will likely take it easy on him to avoid a potential injury. Carey had 39 yards on 3 receptions last week against the Saints, and now the Bears face another poor run defense in Minnesota that FO has ranked 27th vs the run. Carey is a risk, but he is minimum salary in a game where Chicago has nothing to lose.
Brandon Bolden ($4,850) vs Buffalo - The Patriots have nothing to play for this week, as they have already locked up the top seed in the AFC. Bill Belichick has stated that it is business as usual for the Pats, but I’m not buying it. The New England backfield situation has been murky for quite some time, and with Jonas Gray already ruled out, I’m looking toward Bolden as a player that could step up and prove his worth. The Bills have a tremendous defense, but FO has them at 12th in the NFL vs the run. You’re taking a shot here with Bolden, but no more of a shot than you’d be taking with any other Patriots player.
Greg Jennings ($8,400) vs Chicago - Teddy Bridgewater has emerged as the class of the 2014 NFL QB rookies, and Jennings has been his safety blanket. Jennings isn’t a guy who will post enormous numbers, but he has eclipsed 10 FP in 8 of his last 9 games, including TD grabs in four of his last five. Bridgewater continues to impress, and will be looking to pick apart a Bears secondary that ranks 29th in the NFL against the pass. Fire up Jennings as a safe play with some upside.
Josh Gordon ($8,300) at Baltimore - The Ravens defense has been tremendous against the run this season, but ranks 15th against the pass. These numbers may even be somewhat misleading, as the Ravens have really struggled against the pass since the injury to Jimmy Smith. Connor Shaw is an unknown talent at the NFL level, but Gordon has shown that he can be elite, given the right situation. I’m not sure how much motivation Gordon and company will have this week with no playoff hopes, but knocking the Ravens out of contention could give the Browns a positive ending to yet another disappointing campaign.
Jermaine Gresham ($7,300) at Pittsburgh - Hue Jackson has been looking to get Gresham more involved in the offense as Andy Dalton’s security blanket, and he has produced with a TD grab in two straight games. He saw 11 targets last week against Denver, and now may become an integral part of the offense against a Steelers team that ranks 26th against TE. He hauled in just 3 passes for 23 yards in the first meeting, but did score a TD. I expect him to have a huge role this week, especially if A.J. Green is limited.
As always, you can find me on Twitter @BigItaly42. I’d love to discuss these plays or any you are considering for this week!