After researching the pool of NFL players like quarterback, running back, wide receiver, and tight end every week for the past few seasons, I will be on a new path for daily games in 2021. I continue to make projections for Illustrated Sports, and this baseline will be used to identify possible values at each position during the season.
In daily games, we see each week that low-paid players post scores that make a difference. The key to winning is mixing a core of studs with some undervalued options that post impact scores for their price.
Depending on the format, the goal is to find players who score three or four times their salary for a shot at GPP (grand prize).
Top tier: Matthew Stafford, Los Angeles Rams ($ 7,300 / $ 7,800)
After 12 weeks, Stafford ranks fifth in quarterback scoring (272.60 fantasy points) in four-point touchdown leagues. He scored between 27.00 and 33.15 fantasy points in six starts. Stafford threw for more than 300 yards in five meetings while averaging 319 yards and 2.6 touchdowns at home.
Jacksonville improved to eighth in quarterback defense (20.19 FPPG) after allowing less than 18.00 fantasy points in their last three meetings (IND – 180/0, SF – 176/2 and ATL – 190/1). Additionally, they have allowed less than 200 yards through the air in five of their previous seven contests. During the first four games, the Jaguars had trouble defending wide receivers (13/200/1, 14/216/1, 17/238 and 18/238/2).
The Rams come into this week’s matchup with a three-game losing streak. During this span, Stafford has been sacked nine times (eight in his first eight games). The 49ers and Packers held the ball for more than 39 minutes, keeping the Rams’ offense on the sidelines. Stafford projects to pass for 306 yards and three touchdowns.
Plus: Lamar Jackson – 28.57 fantasy points
Value: Derek Carr, Las Vegas Raiders ($ 6,000 / $ 7,500)
In 11 starts, Carr has yet to surrender more than two touchdowns in a game despite averaging 310 passing yards. He has already set a personal record for completions over 20 yards (58). Carr offers almost no value in the running game (27/73). This week, the Raiders will be without their star tight end (Darren Waller).
Washington ranks last in the defensive quarterbacks league (26.97 FPPG). Most of the damage occurred in a three-game stretch (BUF – 387/5, ATL – 303/4 and NO – 305/4) of Weeks 3-5. Over the past four games, they held quarterbacks to 217 passing yards with seven touchdowns. Three opponents were successful with their wide receivers (LAC – 24/278/1, BUF – 23/277/2 and KC – 19/239/2) against Washington.
With 300 passing yards and two touchdowns, Carr would produce enough fantasy points to fill his salary bucket. Foster Moreau offers a decent floor as a tight end as a replacement for Waller, while Las Vegas has sneaky depth at wide receiver.
Plus: Joe Burrow – 20.50 fantasy points
Top tier: Jonathan Taylor, Indianapolis Colts ($ 9,200 / $ 10,500)
Taylor extended his scoring streak to nine games (16 touchdowns). During this span, he gained 1,300 yards with 28 receptions and averaged more than 28 fantasy points. Last week, Taylor failed to reach a combined 100 yards for the first time since Week 3. He averaged 27 touches in his previous three weeks. In Week 6, Taylor gained 158 yards with two touchdowns and one catch against the Texans.
Houston is ranked 24th against running back (25.15 FPPG), with fights against the race in six matchups (CLE – 34/156/3, BUF – 40/199/2, IND – 26/174/2, ARI – 37 / 172/1, LAR – 31/165/2 and NYJ – 34/157/1). They allow 4.5 yards per rush with 14 rushing touchdowns.
Taylor has a huge salary, but his showdown targets multiple scores as he delivers more than 100 combined yards. His first projections reach 150 yards with 1.6 touchdowns and two receptions.
Plus: Joe Mixon – 25.65
Value: Elijah Mitchell, San Francisco 49ers ($ 6,000 / $ 7,600)
The 49ers have run the ball well the past three weeks (44/156/1, 42/171/1, 39/208/3), but their wide receivers accounted for 185 rushing yards on 20 carries with four touchdowns. San Francisco gave him 27 carries in each of his last two starts, bringing him to 259 yards with a touchdown and five catches or 36.90 fantasy points in the PPR leagues. Twice in his previous three starts, Mitchell was most active in the passing game (5/43 and 5/35). The 49ers had him on the field for 70 percent of his plays in Week 12, the highest of the season.
Jamaal Williams – 20.63 Fantasy points
The wide receiver
Top tier: Cooper Kupp, Los Angeles Rams ($ 9,000 / $ 9,000)
Kupp has gained more than 90 yards in 10 of his 11 starts while offering a flat of seven receptions in 10 games. He was unable to score in his last three meetings after surrendering 10 touchdowns and four impact games (9/163/2, 9/96/2, 9/103/2, 10/156/2) during the first eight weeks.
Wide receivers have 151 receptions for 1,833 yards and 10 touchdowns on 201 goals against the Jaguars. Six wide receivers (Brandin Cooks – 5/132, Courtland Sutton – 9/159, AJ Green – 5/112, Christian Kirk – 7/104, Tyler Boyd – 9/118, Tyler Lockett – 12/142) won over 100 yards. Jaylen Waddle (10/70/2) and DK Metcalf (6/43/2) were the two receivers who scored twice.
Kupp should break his three-game scoring drought while active again in the passing game. Their confrontation points to nine receptions for 121 yards and a touchdown.
Value: Chris Godwin, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($ 6,600 / $ 7,600)
Over the past three weeks, Godwin received just 19 targets, leading to 17 receptions for 146 yards and a touchdown. Their best success came in three matches (9/105/1, 8/111/1, 8/140/1). Godwin only has one touchdown on the road, in Week 2 against the Falcons (4/62/1). A year, he averages eight goals.
Atlanta is ranked 27th against the wide receiver position (141 / 1,670 / 15 – 37.19 FPPG). Two offenses gained more than 200 yards from their receivers (ERA – 12/204/2 and DAL – 15/212/2). Terry McLaurin (6/123/2) and CeeDee Lamb (6/94/2) have both impact games. The Falcons faced nine opponents (PHI, NYG, WAS, NYJ, MIA, CAR, NO, NE and JAC) with questionable depth at wide receiver and below par quarterback play.
For Godwin to get in, he needs Atlanta to play well on offense. The Bucs’ improved running back production will turn heads this week, but I hope the game script returns to Tampa wide receivers. Sports betting YES lists this week’s match with the highest / lowest (50.5) of the week. I set Godwin’s ribbon on seven receptions for 102 yards and a touchdown.
George Kittle, San Francisco 49ers ($ 5,900 / $ 6,300)
San Francisco struggled to get the ball to Kittle in Week 12, leading to a catch and 13 yards on two goals. His scoring streak ended in three games. In his first seven starts, the 49ers gave him 47 goals (6.7 per game), highlighted by two games (7/92 and 6/101/1). The Seahawks held him to four receptions for 40 yards on 10 goals in Week 4.
Seattle is ranked 23rd in tight ends defense (61/569/5). Most of their fights occurred in three contests (7/70/1, 5/61/1, and 8/88/2). Tyler Conklin (7/70/1), Pat Freiermuth (7/58), Dan Arnold (8/68) and Zach Ertz (8/88/2) had the most success in sacks.
With Deebo Samuel injured, Kittle hopes to be more active in the passing game. However, you need 25.00 fantasy points to pay, which requires a step up from your Week 13 projections.
Plus: Travis Kelce – 18.72 fantasy points
Value: Tyler Higbee, Los Angeles Rams ($ 3,800 / $ 5,300)
After 16 games, Higbee is the 16th highest scoring tight end (8.34 FPPG). He has yet to score more than 15.00 fantasy points in any match, while averaging just 5.1 goals. In order for him to fill his salary bucket, Higbee needs to score more than 14.00 fantasy points.
The Jaguars played better against tight ends over the past five weeks (1/7, 2/10, 5/52, 4/34/1, 3/33), taking them up to 20th in tight ends defense (54/618 / 5). They fought tight ends in three games (9/64/1, 5/95/2, 14/182) earlier in the year.
Darrell Henderson’s injury may lead to a better goal-line opportunity for Higbee. In 2019 and 2020, he caught 113 passes for 1,255 yards and eight touchdowns in 30 games. With a touchdown, Higbee only needs five receptions for 40 yards.
Plus: Rob Gronkowski – 15.23 fantasy points
More fantasy coverage:
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.