Salary cap advice: Saints-Bucs could be scoring frenzy
The NFC South provides this week's most attractive fantasy meeting when the Buccaneers and Saints square off in the aptly named Big Easy. There's little chance that the Bucs and their league-worst pass defense can stop the NFL's highest-scoring passing attack featuring Drew Brees, Darren Sproles, Marques Colston, Jimmy Graham, Lance Moore and now Joseph Morgan. On the other side of the field, the Saints rank last in rushing defense and will have little chance of containing Tampa Bay's Doug Martin, who ranks third in the league in rushing and second in yards from scrimmage. They'll also have their hands full with Josh Freeman and his receiving corps, including Vincent Jackson, Mike Williams and Dallas Clark in a game destined to dominate the Red Zone channel all day long. Now that you have a foundation, here are players from other games to help you fill out your lineups.
This position-by-position look at some of the best bargains entering Week 15 is based on current prices in FanDuel 10-team leagues. If you're looking for a salary cap challenge, test your skills by going head-to-head with SI's Peter King in the Peter King Fantasy Challenge.
• Quarterbacks: Brees is the overwhelming choice behind center this week, but there are alternatives. Also top shelf is Cam Newton, who's been back to his double-threat self the past month, returning to his dominating double-threat self. Freeman is the best of the middling choices, but you can also do quite well with Ben Roethlisberger against the Cowboys and Jay Cutler against the Packers. Values can be found with Russell Wilson against Buffalo and Brandon Weeden taking on the Redskins.
• Running backs: It's often said that revenge is a dish best served cold, and for former Bills running back Marshawn Lynch, the weather in Buffalo (46 degrees) will be just right to exact revenge on his former team. He's coming off of a Beast-like 128 yards on just 11 carries against Arizona, giving him a career-high 1,266 yards for the season. For the same price as DeMarco Murray, he's a great choice to pair with Martin. Others who are available at a reasonable price are Jamaal Charles, who may also be a beast against the Raiders, and the Giants' David Wilson and Denver's Knowshon Moreno, both of whom could be bargains.
• Wide receivers: The 49ers are a tough assignment for anyone but that's exactly the kind of challenge Wes Welker (and Tom Brady) usually excel against. Don't be surprised to see the Slot Machine challenge (or even exceed) his season-high of 13 catches in an effort to keep San Francisco's linebackers more in coverage and less in New England's backfield. With two more touchdowns against the league's best pass defense last week, Danario Alexander is proving that there are few defenses that can neutralize him, especially in the end zone. As long as Philip Rivers can deliver those fade routes and back shoulder passes, Alexander will be effective, like this week against Carolina. Farther down the line you'll find Torrey Smith, who is priced well due to the Champ Bailey bug, but look for him to get behind Denver's defense for a long touchdown, especially if the Ravens fall behind Peyton Manning & Co. And this may finally be a good week to use Kansas City's Dexter McCluster, who is one of the last healthy receivers available to the Chiefs against the touchdown sieve otherwise known as the Raiders defense.
• Tight ends: The Broncos have been victimized time and time again this season by opposing tight ends, which sets up nicely for Dennis Pitta to have a big Week 15. After a long drought, Pitta has scored touchdowns in two of his last three and in three of his last five contests. Among the best budget savers this week and beyond is Tony Scheffler of the Lions, who, due to extensive injuries to Detroit's wideouts, has become Matthew Stafford's most reliable middle-of-the-field receiving threat.
• Kickers: The last two times the Raiders and Chiefs have met, Sebastian Janikowski (7) and Ryan Succop (5) have combined to make a total of 12 field goals, an impressive number and possibly the difference between winning and losing in the fantasy playoffs. Janikowski gets the edge, but Succop saves a little cap space. His recent troubles aside, David Akers, among the highest-priced kickers at the start of the year, is a downright steal as one of the few minimum cost options this week against the Patriots.
• Defense: The Cardinals' offense has done an amazing job of stopping itself during the current nine-game losing streak, so the recommendation is to pick up the Lions for the lowest amount and watch the points pour in.