With fantasy playoffs now ongoing in pretty much every league, it’s time for those in the consolation bracket to begin drowning their sorrows in daily fantasy.
While there aren’t a ton of marquee matchups during the day Sunday, there are enough enticing fantasy options to earn a little cash if you make the right moves.
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 ($6,400)
Luck appeared to put his ugly Week 13 performance against the Jacksonville Jaguars behind him in Week 14, completing 27 passes for 399 yards against the Houston Texans with two touchdowns and an interception.
He’ll face a pretty sharp Dallas Cowboy defense that has the third-best run defense, and though they still have the ninth-best pass defense, one has to think the game plan will be to air it out. Luck has played well enough this season to justify leaning on him against Dallas.
Running Backs: Saquon Barkley, New York Giants ($9,400), Joe Mixon ($6,100)
Barkley has been everything fantasy owners could want, and he proved that again in Week 14. He rushed for 170 yards and a touchdown while grabbing four of his five targets in the air. The Tennessee Titans have a middle of the road rush defense, so Barkley should have no issue making noise.
Mixon reached the century mark for the second time this season in Week 14, and he did it against a pretty good Los Angeles Chargers front seven. His ability to get involved in both the rush and pass game paired with the Oakland Raiders’ struggles defending both mean Mixon has the potential to go off.
Wide Receivers: Tyler Boyd, Cincinnati Bengals ($5,700); Allen Robinson II, Chicago Bears ($5,500); Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($5,100)
Regardless of who has been under center for the Bengals this season, Boyd has been an integral part of the offense. Though he didn’t put up staggering numbers in Week 14, his big-play potential against a poor Raiders defense makes him an interesting option.
Robinson hasn’t put up big numbers since Week 10, in part due to Chase Daniels quarterbacking Chicago for portions of that stretch. Robinson was Mitchell Trubisky’s favorite target in the signal-caller’s return to action in a big win over the Los Angeles Rams, so he has some upside despite facing the Green Bay Packers’ decent pass defense.
Humphries has been a great fantasy option this season, and he remains a bargain every week. He’s clearly built a rapport with Jameis Winston, who seems to have secured his spot as the Bucs’ No. 1 QB once again. Although he couldn’t find the end zone in Week 14, Humphries had scored in the previous three games.
Tight End: Cameron Brate, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,000)
The tight end position largely has been a fantasy black hole this season, but Brate seems to have come around a bit lately. He scored twice in Week 14 and once in Week 12, so even though he’s not a high-volume pass-catcher, the scoring potential is there. The Baltimore Ravens have a good defense, but Tampa’s pass-heavy offense makes Brate a decent choice.
Flex: Derrick Henry, Tennessee Titans ($5,000)
After going scorched earth in Week 14, it’s tough to pass on Henry. He carried the ball 17 times for 238 yards — 99 of which came on one scamper — scoring four times. The New York Giants have the 22nd-ranked rush defense, so while he may not be able to replicate those same numbers, it would be silly not to pick him up.
Defense: Cincinnati Bengals ($2,500)
When it comes to fantasy defense, it’s all about the matchup. The Raiders are just plain awful on offense, so the Bengals are a cheap option with a favorable tilt.