Well, there’s no denying it any longer, either you’re in or out of your season-long fantasy football league, or there’s that slight chance you could sneak in if a bunch of things go your way in what usually is the final regular season fantasy week.
So if you’re out and that’s got you down, feel free to drown your sorrows in some daily fantasy.
Below is our “optimal lineup” for DraftKings’ main Sunday slate (early afternoon and late afternoon games), which allots a $50,000 budget for a roster of nine players.
Quarterback: Andrew Luck, Indianapolis Colts ($5,800)
Luck seems to be back to his old self, meaning he’s a good guy to have on your fantasy team.
In his most recent showing, Luck looked mostly good against the Miami Dolphins, completing 30 of his 37 passes for 343 yards with three touchdowns, although his two interceptions were less than ideal. Still, he’s a high-volume thrower who can find the end zone, and though he’s facing a pretty good Jacksonville Jaguars defense, they by no means are impenetrable.
Running Backs: Todd Gurley, Los Angeles Rams ($9,300); Saquon Barkley, New York Giants ($7,900)
Gurley needs little explanation. He’s an absolute horse who is good for heaps of fantasy points on a weekly basis. Fresh off his bye, Gurley will go up against a Detroit Lions rush defense that sits at 19th in the league.
Barkley has a bit more of a challenge, as he’ll face a stout Chicago Bears defense. The rookie has rewarded fantasy owners often this season, and he’s coming off a stellar outing against the Philadelphia Eagles. It is a bit of a gamble based on the opponent, sure, but the upside is too big to ignore.
Wide Receivers: Robert Woods, Los Angeles Rams ($6,900); Anthony Miller, Chicago Bears ($4,500); Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,200)
Like the rest of the Rams’ offense, Woods has been reliable this season. In the shootout against the Kansas City Chiefs, he caught four of his 11 targets for 72 yards and a touchdown. Given the offense he’s a part of and the fact that he’s frequently targeted, Woods could be a smart addition.
Miller has been sharp in his rookie season. Though he didn’t immediately jell with backup quarterback Chase Daniel, he’ll certainly benefit from Mitchell Trubisky possibly making his return. Prior to the Bears’ Thanksgiving win over the Lions, Miller had caught touchdown passes in his previous two games, including in a five-catch, 122-yard game against Detroit in Week 10. The explosiveness is there, meaning he’s well worth the selection.
The Bucs have been an unmitigated disaster after a decent start, but lost in that is the fact that Humphries actually has been a decent receiver regardless of who is under center. He’s had at least one touchdown in two of his last three games, including a two-score game in Week 9. Considering Tampa is facing a Carolina Panthers team that is 19th in pass defense and Jameis Winston seems to be figuring things out, Humphries has a lot of upside this week.
Tight End: Eric Ebron, Indianapolis Colts ($4,200)
There aren’t a ton of pass-catching tight ends playing in the early games Sunday, but Ebron hardly is a slouch.
The 25-year-old has been a touchdown machine this season, recording 12 so far, including two in Week 12 — furthering the notion that he arguably is Luck’s favorite target. Not only does Ebron score often, but he also does it in bunches, meaning he’s a real bargain at $4,200 even against a decent pass defense.
Flex: Lamar Miller, Houston Texans ($4,600)
Miller sure made his presence known on “Monday Night Football” in Week 12, using a 97-yard touchdown rush to guide him to a 162-yard, one score showing. Three of Miller’s four touchdowns this season have come in the last five weeks, and he really seems to be hitting his stride.
Oh, and the Cleveland Browns’ rush defense? It’s 28th in the NFL.
Defense: Indianapolis Colts ($2,600)
The Colts have maybe the most favorable matchup, as they’ll take on a Jags team that is rolling out Cody Kessler since Blake Bortles is just so dreadful. Indy’s defense is very average, sure, but Jacksonville’s downright awful offense makes the Colts too good of an option to pass on.