We took a look at the Top 10 lineups for the $7M Millionaire Maker last week and found a good amount of contrarian plays sprinkled throughout those rosters. Week 5’s Millionaire Maker offered similar findings with lower-owned plays present on all of the rosters, but the number of lower-owned plays scaled towards the low end. Seven of the lineups had either two or three players with less than 10% ownership percentage while the other three had either four or five.
As we explained last week, each week is different and there is no magic number for the right amount of contrarian plays. For some weeks, many of the chalk plays will come through and we will see some higher ownership percentages on the top rosters. Other weeks will offer the opposite results and the top of the leader boards will be heavy with lineups that have many contrarian plays. As always, balance remains the key regardless of which week it is.
Week 6 presents us with a whole new set of matchups to analyze and dissect. There will be some chalk plays that look too good to pass up and others that may not be as appealing once we really dig into them. Then there will be some hidden gems that we come across that could be the key piece or pieces to a winning lineup. This column aims to help you find the lower-owned hidden gems and point you in the right direction as you search for more. Let’s start this week’s search with the quarterback position.
Jay Cutler, $5,200
Cutler makes his second consecutive appearance in The Contrarian and for good reason: many remain unsold on the 2015 version of Jay Cutler. We even struggled with Cutler as we analyzed his possibilities last week and wondered whether we would see the ‘good’ Cutler or ‘bad’ Cutler against the Chiefs. We were treated to the ‘good’ Cutler as he threw for 252 yards, two touchdowns and no picks en route to 18.58 points – his second consecutive game with at least 18 points.
Cutler has thrown for two touchdowns in each of the past two games and could add to that streak against the Lions. The Lions have surrendered 10 passing touchdowns so far and are struggling as a team with no signs of turning things around. Cutler offers solid upside in Week 6 at an even cheaper price than last week. Buy-in while others still have their doubts and his price begins to creep up.
Joe Flacco, $5,900
The Ravens are beginning to resemble an infirmary unit and will likely again be without top wideout Steve Smith Sr. His absence did little to limit Flacco’s upside in Week 5 as he scored 24.6 points, a number that was boosted by two rushing touchdowns to the delight of Justin Forsett owners everywhere. The Ravens travel west this week to take on a 49ers team that has been lit up by three opposing quarterbacks but surprisingly held Aaron Rodgers in check in Week 4.
In addition to Smith Sr., Forsett is also listed as questionable for Sunday. If he doesn’t play, the Ravens will be down to Buck Allen and recent waiver claim Raheem Mostert at running back. That could point to a day of heavy lifting for Flacco, who can produce solid numbers when given the opportunity to air it out. Flashing back to last year’s game against the Buccaneers, also coincidentally in Week 6, Flacco threw for 306 yards and five touchdowns. Not sure that we’ll get there in Week 6 of this year against the 49ers, but the opportunity is there for Flacco to be a great contrarian quarterback play this week.
Eddie Lacy, $6,300
Lacy will have his share of supporters but should still lag behind the higher-priced running backs of Week 6. His matchup with the Chargers offers him as much upside as any running back on the schedule and provides him with the opportunity for a breakout game to kick start his 2015 campaign. The Chargers are allowing the most fantasy points per game to running backs of any team in the league. The Packers are a 10 ½-point favorite, pointing us to a game script that calls for a heavy dose of the Packers running game. The Packers offense has not been firing on all cylinders the past few weeks, feeding the ball to Lacy early and often may provide just the jolt that is needed for Lacy and the offense as a whole. For a price of $6,300, you have a chance at elite-level running back production that will also afford you a ton of salary cap flexibility.
Danny Woodhead, $4,700
On the other side of the docket for the game between the Packers and Chargers, we have the pass-catching running back that tends to fly under the radar. Woodhead is second on the team in both carries and targets and should factor heavily in the game plan this week. The Chargers will likely be coming from behind and throwing the ball heavily to keep pace or catch-up, opening the door for Woodhead to see plenty of time on the field ahead of Melvin Gordon. Woodhead has at least three catches in each game this season and is averaging 15.1 points per game, a little more than 3x return on his $4,700 salary. With a full point per reception, Woodhead’s points can add up quickly on Sunday. Woodhead makes for a great contrarian play at a bargain price.
Allen Robinson, $5,900
Robinson has received 50 targets as the top option in the Jaguars passing offense and is averaging 17.8 points per game. Since Week 1’s game against the Panthers when he caught only a single pass, Robinson has caught at least four passes in each game. He’s the top option in an improving offense preparing to face a Texans team that allowed Andre Johnson to appear as if he was several years younger. The Texans defense is not the force many thought it would be this season and has allowed plenty of points. While a lot of attention and salary cap space will be devoted to opposing wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, perhaps we should consider fading the highly-owned Hopkins and buying a lower-owned Robinson. Hopkins will produce due to the sheer volume of targets he receives, but as Robinson showed in scoring 26.2 points last week, he has the ability to produce similar numbers.
Mike Wallace, $4,500
Wallace became somewhat fantasy relevant again with his performance in Week 4 against the Broncos. He caught eight passes for 83 yards and a touchdown, which was good enough for 22.3 points. Wallace and the Vikings face the Chiefs on Sunday, a team that is allowing the most points per game to opposing wideouts. On the downside, the Vikings offense has not taken a leap forward this season as many were expecting. Adrian Peterson remains as solid and productive as ever, but the passing game has been a disappointment. Teddy Bridgewater has thrown for only two touchdowns this season. Perhaps a date with the Chiefs will be just what the Dr. ordered for the Vikings passing game to kick it into gear. Wallace offers nice upside at a low price and should have a productive day against a porous secondary.
Gary Barnidge, $4,400
Those waiting for the clock to strike 12 on Gary Barnidge may have to wait a little longer. Barnidge has become one of the top targets for a revitalized Josh McCown, who has thrown for 300+ yards for three consecutive weeks. During that three-game stretch, Barnidge has caught at least six passes in each and scored at least 19.5 points. A date with the Broncos poses a stiff test and we can expect McCown’s production to come back to earth, but some tight defense should still provide enough room for plenty of short targets to the tight end. Barnidge may cool off a bit this week as well but should still have enough opportunity to provide a decent return. This is a good situation to think a little outside the box as many will be scared off by the Broncos defense.
Jordan Cameron, $3,000
Cameron is another outside the box selection as his production has left a lot to be desired this season. The Dolphins as a whole have been a huge disappointment and the bye week brought forth some changes. Interim head coach Dan Campbell has a tall task at hand to right the ship down in Miami, but for at least a week we may see a little more pep in the step of the Dolphins players. Cameron is second on the team in targets and could see a few more headed his way this week as the Dolphins look to get their sluggish offense in gear.
Carolina Panthers, $3,000
When we think of a game being played at Seattle, we automatically think of playing the Seahawks defense. A little contrarian thinking pivots us to the opposing team who may have just as much upside. The Seahawks have given up 22 sacks this season and have allowed two big games to opposing defenses: Week 1 at St. Louis and Week 4 against Detroit at home. Something is amiss in Seattle this year as evidenced by their 2-3 record. Contrarian defenses that go off can make a ton of noise on the leader boards. Keep the Panthers in mind while you’re looking for this week’s hidden gems.
Chicago Bears, $2,400
We opened our selections with the Bears and we will close with the Bears. Quite simply, the Bears are playing well and the Lions are a mess. The Bears defense has not produced a huge output yet this season, but their production has been on the upswing in recent weeks, led by last week’s nine points against the Chiefs. Nine points won’t do a whole lot for your positioning on the leader boards, but there’s potential for plenty more on Sunday. Last week’s debacle against the Cardinals led to the benching of Matthew Stafford, who will return as starter this week albeit with shaken confidence. The Bears have nine sacks over the past three games. Similar and/or increased pressure on Stafford could force him into some mistakes. For $2,400, we have a sleeper defense that just may outperform the more expensive ones.
That’s a wrap for Week 6 of The Contrarian. Keep these selections in mind for your outside-the-box calls while building your lineups. Best of luck this weekend!