Welcome to the second week of the postseason! For the first time ever, Yahoo is offering daily contests during the NFL playoffs. To keep frugal owners informed, I’ll be continuing my bargains article through the Conference Title games.
Last week I outlined a potential value play at each position. Due to the limited player pool and this week’s given matchups, however, I’m going to offer up three cheap plays this go around. I simply can’t advocate a discounted player at QB or TE. You’re going to want to start your studs! To help you afford them consider rostering the below options:
Steven Jackson, RB, New England Patriots ($14)
Yeah yeah, we all know the pitfalls of trusting the Patriots’ backfield. Yet Jackson was added for a reason. Joining the team in late December, his carries doubled from week sixteen to seventeen. Reports out of New England all indicate that he’s expected to exist as the team’s power rusher, and out-touch Brandon Bolden. While the vet hasn’t exactly dazzled, he did find the endzone in Week 17 and has had an extra week to further absorb the Patriot Way.
On Saturday afternoon he’ll face a Chiefs squad that gave up 99 rushing yards to ham-and-egger Alfred Blue the prior week. While Jackson may not see more than 15 totes, I think he has a good shot of getting the goal line. Of course, I expect James White to be utilized, but he’s the team’s pass-catching back. With Julian Edelman and Danny Amendola both in play, White’s targets won’t be as plentiful as they were a month ago. Behind an offensive line that has had time to heal and that Football Outsiders ranked the second most effective in the league, Jackson is a cheap flex play for managers willing to eschew the group think.
Chris Conley, WR, Kansas City Chiefs ($10)
Jeremy Maclin has added some much-needed dimensionality to Kansas City’s offense, scoring six times in the last six games of the regular season. During last Saturday’s blowout win over the Texans, however, he exited the contest with an ankle injury. In his stead, Conley took the field and scored shortly thereafter. The rookie’s only other TD of the season came in Week 7… when Maclin was, again, sidelined.
Maclin’s status is currently up in the air. Even if he does play, however, he’ll be far from 100 percent, especially considering he was recovering from a hip injury heading into the Wild Card Weekend. A burner with good size, Conley is the Chiefs best bet at replacing Maclin and should see upwards of 85 percent of the snaps if the vet sits. Facing a Patriots secondary that has struggled as of late (and promises to be all over TE Travis Kelce), Conley is a rock-bottom priced flier with oodles of upside.
Jared Abbrederis, WR, Green Bay Packers ($10)
A multi-sport athlete, Abbrederis earned QB Aaron Rodger’s praise in late December after reeling in all three of his targets in Week 15. Efficient in a way that Davante Adams has not been, the Wisconsin native has a chance to shine this weekend. The aforementioned Adams is unlikely to take the field, as he sprained his MCL last Sunday at Fed Ex Field. In that same game, Abbrederis hauled in two balls for 14 yards, but also caught a 2-point conversion that helped the Pack pull away from the Redskins by two scores.
Clearly trusted by Rodgers in the red-area of the field, Abbrederis figures to see an increased workload against the Cardinals on Saturday night. Praised by scouts for his football IQ, the sure-handed receiver should benefit from softer coverage as the Cardinals focus the bulk of their defensive efforts on Randall Cobb and James Jones. At the minimum price of $10, Abbrederis is an ultra-cheap WR3 whose opportunity makes him a worthwhile (and contrarian) play.
Fitzgerald Toussaint, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers ($12)
While Jordan Todman ($14) was the more bombastic runner last Sunday, Toussaint carried the ball six more times and was featured in the passing game. His matchup isn’t ideal, but if DeAngelo Williams were to sit as expected, the former Wolverine should continue to lead Pittsburgh’s backfield. The fact that he’s being targeted in the passing game is key, as the Broncos surrendered five of 14 scores to RBs via the air during the regular season.
Owen Daniels, TE, Denver Broncos ($11)
Greg Olsen ($25) is the safest play at the position. But if you’re not buying in and looking to save cash, Daniels is in a friendly-ish matchup against a Steelers squad that gave up the seventh most fantasy points to opposing tight ends. Furthermore, given Gary Kubiack’s proclivity to favoring the middle, it makes sense that he’d rely heavily on a player he knows so well.
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