Occasionally, we are reminded of important lessons about daily fantasy football. One of them is to pay heed when a value pick is getting lots of chatter during the week.
Last week, there was such a player -- Indianapolis Colts wide receiver T.Y. Hilton. Hilton was at a low point in salary cap price because his team stinks and he had produced single-digit fantasy points in six of eight previous games.
Well, last week he had 175 receiving yards and two touchdowns (one of them fluky, but they all count), and all that mid-week talk about a rock-bottom price had him as a third wide receiver or flex player in tons of lineups. For anyone without Hilton, that was bad news. The prudent play was to get Hilton into 30 to 50 percent of your contests.
The lesson is obvious. Daily fantasy players completely fade a value pick who also has the potential of crushing the stats at their own peril.
This week's value Picks.
Matthew Stafford, Detroit Lions: You'd need bloodhounds to find the Lions' running game. As a result, Stafford's passing moves the ball down the field and into the end zone. Detroit draws the Cleveland Browns and is a 12-point favorite. The biggest risk to Stafford is that the Lions get three scores ahead too soon and Detroit shuts down its passing game to take time off the clock.
Matt Ryan, Atlanta Falcons: Ryan has scored more than 20 points just twice this season, but against the Dallas Cowboys this week, he's going to have to do better than that -- and his track record is that he will. Last week, he would have had nearly 30 points if Julio Jones had caught an easy 39-yard touchdown pass.
Lamar Miller, Houston Texans: Miller is a mid-range-priced back who has been good for double-digit points in all but one game this season (full point-per-reception). The Texans draw the Los Angeles Rams, who are so-so against running backs.
LeSean McCoy, Buffalo Bills: McCoy is a bargain in that he is the cheapest running back in the available group of elite backs this week. He is playing at home, where he has enjoyed his three best fantasy-points weeks this season. And this week's opponent, the New Orleans Saints, is ranked 28th in points allowed to running backs.
Adam Humphries, Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Humphries isn't T.Y. Hilton, but he's the guy getting the value chatter this week. His salary is $3,100 on DraftKings, and it doesn't get much cheaper than that. He's a slot receiver, so he's going to get at least a handful of high-percentage targets. And his teammate, wide receiver Mike Evans, is suspended, which could mean a bump in targets.
Golden Tate, Detroit Lions: Tate is the stack with Stafford. Tate is averaging about eight looks a game, and he makes the most of his catches. The only concern is that the touchdown passes could go to teammate Marvin Jones.
JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers: It's unlikely he'll see 10 targets like he did in Pittsburgh's last game against Detroit, but he has developed into a reliable and explosive No. 2 receiver. And he's cheap, and he draws the Colts, who are giving up 35 fantasy points a game to receivers.
Hunter Henry, Los Angeles Chargers: The Chargers play Jacksonville. The Jaguars have one of the best pass defenses in the NFL -- against wide receivers. If Chargers quarterback Philip Rivers wants to throw, he'll be looking for Henry.
Matt Prater, Detroit Lions: The Lions play Cleveland at home in domed Ford Field where Prater will probably get a shot at three or four kicks of 40-plus yards.
Pittsburgh Steelers/Los Angeles Rams: On FanDuel, go with the Steelers against the Colts because Pittsburgh is a bargain and the Rams -- who face the Houston Texans -- are too expensive. On DraftKings, however, the Rams' price is more reasonable.