Week 5: Bargain Hunter
FFToolbox is venturing into the exciting (and growing) world of salary cap football when we launch a new salary cap format this season. The major appeal of salary cap football is that unlike regular football, you are more like a true NFL general manager -- dealing with player salaries and trying to construct the best possible team for a set budget all the while competing against the rest of the fantasy universe (not just the other nine or 11 teams in your standard league). The key to winning in a salary cap league is simple, in theory: put together the best possible team for the budget that you have to spend. The advice in this column is based off the basic Yahoo salary cap format which requires you to start the following positions: one quarterback, two running backs, three wide receivers, one tight end, one defense and one kicker using a $100 budget.
This Week 5 edition of Bargain Hunter featuring Ronnie Hillman, Ryan Williams, Danny Woodhead, Danny Amendola, Brian Hartline, Kyle Rudolph and Jacob Tamme is designed to help salary cap owners find a cheap, under the radar sleeper, that will help their teams this weekend.
Don't forget to check out the rest of the great advice columns here on FFToolbox.com as well as the FFToolbox.com Weekly Radio Show, hosted by Ben Standig (@BenStandig on Twitter) Tuesday's and Thursday's at 8:00 p.m. For those of you who don't listen to the show, we do a "Sleeper of the Week" pick every show, so I'm going to list my pick for Week 5: Danny Woodhead. Best of luck to all fantasy and salary cap owners in Week 5.
If you have any questions, feel free to follow me on Twitter @GeorgeBissell or FFToolbox @fftoolbox and send us your questions all season long.
The heir apparent to Willis McGahee, Ronnie Hillman is garnering attention for the second consecutive week as a player to keep an eye on as the season goes on. Valued at just $4.93 in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues, if an injury or second half slump were to happen to veteran starter Willis McGahee, (neither of which would surprise anyone) Hillman would likely take over the starting role. His involvement in the offense has picked up recently, including Week 4 when he ran for 31 yards on 10 carries and added a pair of receptions for 32 yards in a blowout over the Oakland Raiders.
Hillman is an intriguing bargain player to keep an eye on, just because McGahee has already had some injury issues this season, and his second half slump last season should make his fantasy owners weary. If a speedy talent like Hillman were to gain a significant role in Peyton Manning's offense, he is nearly a lock to outperform his $4.93 value every week.
One of the cheapest starting running back in all of Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues heading into Week 5, valued at just $4.75, Ryan Williams is a must-add for salary cap owners thanks to a favorable matchup against the St. Louis Rams. The Cardinals' 4-0 record may be an abberation and Williams hasn't been all that impressive through four weeks, but Arizona should have no trouble running the football against the Rams, who have allowed the 12th-most fantasy points to opposing running backs and are ranked 26th against the run, giving up over 135 yards per game this season.
Danny Woodhead scored just one touchdown all of last season, but it came against the Denver Broncos, a team he has had success against throughout his career with New England. Undrafted rookie free agent Brandon Bolden will be a popular sleeper on the wavier wire in all fantasy leagues this week, but his breakout performance in Week 4 was more of a product of a favorable matchup than anything.
With offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels facing his former team, the Patriots' offensive gameplan will be to spread the Broncos defense out, which means we will see plenty of Woodhead in the Patriots backfield. Fantasy owners shouldn't expect a monster game from Woodhead, but there is a good chance this will be one of his more productive games of the season, which makes him a value in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues at just $7.48.
Danny Amendola has been featured in this Bargain Hunter column numerous times in the pre-season and during the regular season as one of the best values in Yahoo! Salary Cap leagues. Amazingly enough (despite breaking out in a big way through the first four weeks), Amendola's salary cap price has still not gone through the roof to the point that he is no longer a value. Amendola can be snagged at the bargain price of $6.88, making him one of the cheapest and most productive wide receiver options in salary cap football leagues this season.
Amendola is worth a mention once again in this space mainly because he is still producing at a high level and his salary cap price still remains low enough that he is a major bargain. Sometimes you just have to continue to ride the hot hand and as long as Amendola's price stays under $10.00, he is still an excellent value. Fantasy owners shouldn't be scared off by a Week 5 matchup against the Arizona Cardinals, who were torched by the Miami Dolphins in Week 4.
Affter posting 12 catches for 253 yards and a touchdown in Week 4, Brian Hartline joined an exclusive club, becoming one of just 16 players in NFL history to record more than 250 yards receiving in a single game. The last player to rack up that type of yardage in a single game was Miles Austin back on Oct. 11, 2009. While he may have just posted his best game of the season (possibly his career), Hartline appears to be legitimate from a skills standpoint and at the very least -- the amount of targets he is receiving from rookie quarterback Ryan Tannehill makes him a worthy pickup for Yahoo! Salary Cap owners, valued at just $8.92.