If you’ve never played weekly salary cap games, you’re missing out on an exciting game to play throughout the NFL season. The game that we’ll be breaking down in this weekly article is for the website FanDuel.
For those of you that have never played a salary cap game before, I’ll quickly go over the rules so you can understand how these games work. Each player is given a monetary value based on statistics, matchups and that player’s hype. You then try to create the ideal lineup using as salary cap, such as $60,000.
The purpose of this weekly article is to point out the best values each week so you can make the most ideal lineup. A few positions you’ll never see on this article is defenses and kickers. With these positions you’re just basically looking for the most ideal matchup, whether that’s a rookie quarterback for a defense or a terrible defense for a kicker.
With all this introductory information out of the way, let’s now take a look at some of the most ideal matchups over at FanDuel.
Terrelle Pryor, Oakland Raiders
There are two reasons why Pryor is one of the better values this week at only $5,100. For starters, Pryor plays the Indianapolis Colts this week. While the Colts weren’t a horrible fantasy defense last year, they still gave up an average of 8.13 points per game. Even though this is Pryor’s first ever NFL start, he’s got an ideal matchup to put up some big points.
The second reason why Pryor has value this week is due to his ability as a runner. Is he going to throw some interceptions? Yes, he will probably have a few, but they’ll likely be negated by plenty of rushing yards and some possible rushing touchdowns.
All in all, at nearly half the cost of top quarterbacks like Drew Brees and Aaron Rodgers, Pryor makes a nice value at the quarterback position.
Daryl Richardson, St. Louis Rams
With Steven Jackson joining the Atlanta Falcons this offseason, the Rams will be relying on a bevy of young running backs to lead them this season. The one who currently sits atop the depth chart is Richardson.
While it’s hard to imagine St. Louis pounding the ball on the ground as much as it did with Jackson in the backfield, Richardson should still get plenty of touches. One reason for this is the fact that backup Isaiah Pead is suspended for the opening season game.
Once Pead returns, and as rookie Zac Stacy becomes more familiar with the offense, Richardson likely won’t have the same impact he can have in Week 1. At only a cost of $6,000 this week, Richardson could pay off huge dividends.
Vick Ballard, Indianapolis Colts
Despite having a solid rookie season last year, Ballard found himself on the bench due to the signing of free-agent running back Ahmad Bradshaw. However, Ballard had 10 runs of 10-plus yards, which was good for the 14th-most in the NFL last season on 211 carries. With Bradshaw still struggling with an injury, Ballard will get the majority of the carries in Week 1.
That means Ballard will enter Sunday’s game against one of the worst defense in the league in the Oakland Raiders as the No. 1 back for the Colts’ high-powered offense. There is no doubt that this is quarterback Andrew Luck’s team and Indianapolis will throw the ball plenty, but they’ll still feature Ballard quite a bit.
Considering Ballard’s cost is only $5,600 this week, he’s an incredible value to keep you under the salary cap.
James Jones, Green Bay Packers
Can you guess who led the NFL in touchdown receptions last year? It wasn’t Calvin Johnson or Rob Gronkowski or A.J. Green. No, it was James Jones.
Jones enters the year behind Jordy Nelson and Randall Cobb on the depth chart, but that shouldn’t change how much impact he’ll have this year. Last year he was technically behind Nelson, Cobb and Greg Jennings. Now that Jennings is playing for the Minnesota Vikings, Jones will have even less competition for receptions, making him an even bigger threat for another big season.
Another reason why Jones could see his targets increase is due to the fact he has some of the surest hands on the Packers’ roster. His 4.48 percent drop rate was one of the best rates in the NFL last season.
With the Packers traveling to take on the San Francisco 49ers this week, it’s likely that Green Bay will be relying on its passing game quite a bit. Look for Jones to have an extremely productive week for a player only costing $5,800.
DeSean Jackson, Philadelphia Eagles
When Chip Kelly became head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles, every single offensive player saw a huge boost in their fantasy value. That statement should absolutely include a speedy player like Jackson, who looks like the ideal fit in Kelly’s offense.
Add to that the fact that the Eagles will be without Jeremy Maclin for the entire 2013 season, and that makes Jackson’s stock even higher. Jackson will enter the season as quarterback Michael Vick’s top option. For fantasy purposes, Jackson’s best trait is his deep-ball ability. Last year 32 percent of his targets were on passes over 20 yards, a number that isn’t likely to drop in Kelly’s offense.
With Jackson’s athleticism and speed, he should see a number of touches in Week 1 against the Washington Redskins. At only $5,700 this week he might be the best value of all.
Jordan Cameron, Cleveland Browns
For those that follow standard fantasy football regularly, Cameron shouldn’t be a name you haven’t heard before. However, for newbies you may be asking yourself, “Who exactly is this Cameron you’re speaking of?”
Cameron has been rising up draft boards due to a strong preseason. He’s quickly become one of quarterback Brandon Weeden’s favorite targets. Throw in the fact that wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended for the first two games and Cameron should see plenty of throws come his way in Week 1 against the Miami Dolphins.
Cameron’s cost this week at FanDuel is a ridiculously low $4,900. He’s got the potential to put up absolutely huge numbers, making him the best value this week.