Things in the NFL are heating up as many teams remain alive to make the postseason and the main slate this week brings us 11 games again. It features not one running back over $8,300 on DraftKings and that’s going to make the builds extremely interesting this week. Let’s talk about that and everything else in this slate in the NFL DFS Game by Game Breakdown Week 14 to find paths to green!
QB – Russell Wilson may be the most frustrating mix of talent and mediocre fantasy production at the position. He has two great receivers but he’s not even averaging 17.5 DraftKings points per game. I know he’s had the finger injury but the Seattle offense is just not that great only ranking 22nd in points scored per game. Houston is a surprise sixth in DVOA against the pass and has an 18:14 TD: INT ratio. Russ is 10th in points per dropback but just 16th in points per game. I never want to completely ignore him but he’s not going to be a priority for me.
RB – This article is long but it’s fun to write about some of the players. It’s cool to see the metrics that lie underneath and why they’re performing well. The Seattle backfield does not fall into that category as they had Rashaad Penny and Adrian Peterson split carries last week 10-11 and they managed to generate 51 rushing yards. Let’s face it, when you can average 2.4 yards per carry when you have Wilson and talented receivers, you have to go for it. We’re going to have to wait to see if Alex Collins gets back in the mix for this one because it is a good spot and the Seahawks continue to run the ball when they can. Houston is dead last in rushing yards allowed and while Seattle is 29th in attempts per game, that has been game script related. They won’t hesitate but I think we can do better.
Update – Collins is active with Peterson and Travis Homer out, so it’s down to Collins and Penny but I remain uninterested. It’s the lowest total on the slate.
WR – Both Tyler Lockett and D.K. Metcalf saw eight targets each last week and they were both into double-digit DraftKings points. Lockett continued his streak of outscoring Metcalf and it’s been four of the past five weeks. They are dead even in targets at 84 apiece and Lockett has the slight lead in air yards but Metcalf has a monster 13-5 lead in red-zone targets. The matchup individually for each is great as Metcalf is against Terrance Mitchell while Lockett sees more of Desmond King. Mitchell has allowed a 115.4 passer rating and 13.5 yards per reception this year. Meanwhile, King has allowed 1.77 points per target and a 107 passer rating himself, so the only issues could be the Seahawks offense that generally underperforms.
TE – I just refuse to play Gerald Everett because he’s just not that talented of a player and the role seems unstable. He does have three games with at least six targets in the past four but the floor is so low. There aren’t many tight ends that can turn four receptions into seven yards. Houston can’t defend the position well with six touchdowns allowed and 645 yards but Everett is very much a punt-style player with low upside.
D/ST – I’m not here to tell you that the Seahawks are a good defense. They rank just 21st in total DVOA, they only have 13 turnovers forced and just 19 sacks. However, they do keep teams off the scoreboard at sixth in points allowed per game and they average over five DraftKings points. Given the matchup against Houston and potentially a backup quarterback, I can live with the salary and you could do way worse this week.
Update – Safety Jamal Adams is out for the season so that is a blow for the Seattle defense. He may not be strong in coverage but he did bring some strong elements to the defense.
Cash – None
GPP – Russ, Lockett, Metcalf, D/ST, Collins, Penny
QB – It’s unclear if Tyrod Taylor can play this week and if he can’t, Davis Mills has been an odd mix when he’s been the starter. He’s had upside games against the Rams and Patriots of all teams, but he’s scored under 11 DraftKings points in four starts. That leads me to not want to tangle with him even though Seattle is 26th in DVOA against the pass, 22nd in yards per attempt allowed, and they’ve allowed the third-most yards in football. The matchup is there but the range of outcomes is wild.
RB – Even when David Johnson was inactive, Rex Burkhead mustered up a total of nine touches and under six DraftKings points. That just isn’t going to get it done and you can argue this is the least talented backfield in football, maybe rivaled by only their opponent this week. Seattle is third in yards per attempt allowed and their yardage given up (bottom 10 in the league) has come from facing the most rushing attempts in football. I’ll have no interest here.
WR – I’ll continue to just go after Brandin Cooks in the Houston offense and even then, it’s getting tough to back him with Mills potentially under center. The metrics are everything we chase as he’s 13th in receptions and third in air yards share at 41.6% but he’s 92nd in catchable pass rate and that’s a huge issue. The individual matchup is solid against Ugo Amadi who’s allowed a passer rating over 92 and a completion rate over 67%. Everything looks great for him except the quarterback play.
TE – It’s hard to really get behind anyone here. Nobody has a target share over 10% and the team is splitting snaps with Pharaoh Brown and Brevin Jordan. Even when Jordan Akins has not been active the past few weeks, it hasn’t resulted in anything tangible for fantasy.
D/ST – These teams are somewhat mirrors of each other in certain spots because the Houston defense isn’t good in the traditional sense. They are 30th in points per game allowed but they are 10th in total DVOA. They also have forced the seventh-most turnovers and gotten to the quarterback 26 times with a 21.2% pressure rate. Seattle gives up a pressure rate of 25.7% which is the seventh-highest and that can lead to some mistakes from the Seahawks offense.
GPP – Cooks, D/ST
QB – One of the reasons I wouldn’t be running to Russ is Dak Prescott is just $100 more and has shown far more upside. He has all of his weapons back in the offense and even after a poor game, his upside is among the highest on the slate. Dak is eighth in yards, seventh in air yards, sixth in true completion, eighth in red zone attempts, and fourth in deep attempts. He may only be 15th in points per dropback but he’s seventh in touchdowns and Washington’s pass defense has not been strong all year. They’re 30th in DVOA against the pass, they’ve allowed the fifth-most yards, and are tied for the most touchdowns allowed at 26. Dak is a very strong option in all formats this week.
RB – After hearing so much about how the workload wasn’t going to change for Ezekiel Elliott, Tony Pollard had nine touches to 15 last game and there’s no question about who was more productive. You can play the game of “well if you take away the big run from Pollard he didn’t do much either” but that is kind of the point. Zeke is not capable of breaking off a 58-yard touchdown run. Maybe it’s injury and maybe it’s not, but the fact remains he hasn’t exceeded 51 rushing yards since Week 6. It’s getting difficult to justify the salary at this point because if he’s not falling into the end zone twice, the points aren’t coming. If Dallas decides to sit Zeke, Pollard is a smash play but if they insist on letting Zeke play, this situation will likely be a fade for me with Pollard priced up. I’m not interested in paying $6,400 for a backup with under 10 touches.
Update – Pollard has no status on the injury report but Dallas elevated a running back from the practice squad. That seems ominous so Zeke will have a workload, regardless of him being able to handle it.
WR – Let’s kick things off with CeeDee Lamb and why he could be good leverage off a (potentially) chalky Amari Cooper –
Lamb is one of the better receivers in football and putting him in the slot just makes him near a cheat code. You’re not going to be able to cover him and Washington hasn’t been able to cover anyone in that alignment. He has a 22.1% target share and is the target leader of the Cowboys. Michael Gallup is likely going to see William Jackson and I’m not sure if we should continue to expect nine targets like the last game. Cooper only saw two and played just 34% of the snaps so we have to weigh that in. The Washington secondary doesn’t have a corner to worry about as William Jackson is their best one (and should face Gallup). Even then, he’s giving up a 1.90 fantasy point per target. Kendall Fuller has been playing more in the slot lately but he’s also allowing a 103.5 passer rating. I’m fine eating Cooper if he’s chalk in cash but I very much want to play Lamb this week.
TE – The style of targets and the amount for Dalton Schultz could be changing as the Cowboys now have all three receivers are back. On the season, he’s sixth in receptions, ninth in yards, seventh in targets and ninth in deep targets among tight ends. I have a little more trouble trusting that now and the salary is still a little high. Washington is just average throughout the stats against the tight end so Schultz is fine, but not a primary target.
D/ST – The Cowboys have seen their price rise after scoring 17 DraftKings points but they don’t get to face Taysom Hill this week. Washington allows a 23% pressure rate and the Cowboys pass rush is getting healthier, which is notable. The play of rookie Micah Parsons is also notable and they are fourth in total DVOA. Dallas does tend to give up some yards but they’re 12th in points per game allowed and boast the fourth-highest pressure rate in football with the fifth-most turnovers forced. They’re in play every week with their upside.
Cash – Lamb, Cooper, Dak
GPP – Zeke, Gallup, Schultz
QB – Last week, we liked Taylor Heinicke as a GPP option and it’s the same story this week. The Raiders may not have been able to force a ceiling game from him but Dallas can and Heinicke should have to pass a bunch to keep up this week. Looking a the metrics would show you that Heinicke is average throughout his game as he ranks 18th in points per dropback, 14th in attempts, 19th in yards per attempt, and 15th in yards. You need the volume to counteract everything else and if Washington can’t stop Dallas, he should attempt close to 40 passes. The salary is extremely low if that turns out to be the case.
RB – Antonio Gibson is still not priced correctly, especially if J.D. McKissic were to be out again. Since the bye week, only Jonathan Taylor has more carries than the 95 that Gibson has and Taylor only has him bet by six. The red-zone work is the same with Gibson being second at 21 and Taylor leading at 27. This shouldn’t be a running back that is priced at $6,000. Dallas is 24th in yards per attempt allowed and has faced the eighth-fewest attempts on the season. Gibson is suddenly fifth in the league in rushing yards and the salary is phenomenal once again.
WR – It’s all about Terry McLaurin his week again and the Washington offense is running out of playmakers. No receiver has a higher air yards share at 44.4% and McLaurin is second in unrealized air yards. His issues lie similar to Cooks as he’s just 83rd in catchable pass rate. It’s a testament to how good he is that he’s 23rd in points per game and the second-most deep targets really interest me. Trevon Diggs has racked up interceptions this year but he also has one of the highest burn rates in football and allows a massive 17.9 yards per reception and 2.06 points per target. McLaurin is an elite GPP target this week and I have my eyes on a McLaurin and Lamb stack.
Update – McKissic is questionable so we’ll see Sunday morning at 11:30 a.m.
TE – Logan Thomas is going to be out for the next couple of weeks at least and that could mean it’s time for Ricky Seals-Jones. He’s dealing with an injury of his own so we’ll see if he can make it back or not. If he doesn’t it could be time for John Bates again. He saw four targets on Sunday and scored 7.2 DraftKings points and that was with Thomas in for much of the game. The Cowboys have allowed the Ninh-most yards to the position so there is production to be had from someone. Thomas and Seals-Jones have had a 16.6% and 11.2% target share each on the season.
Update – Seals-Jones is back and I have some interest in GPP for sure
D/ST – They rank 30th in DVOA and 24th in points per game so it’s hard to advocate for them here. Dallas is a multi-faceted attack that can beat you in any given way and Washington only has 12 turnovers forced to go along with 24 sacks. Only Matthew Stafford and Tom Brady have been sacked fewer times than Dak, so the sack upside doesn’t appear to be high for Washington. I’d rather play Houston at this price point.
Cash – Possibly Gibson
GPP – McLaurin, Heinicke, Seals-Jones
QB – There is no debate that coaching in Jacksonville is a massive issue. Having said that, Trevor Lawrence isn’t exactly playing some of the best football in the league and that is being kind. He’s 36th in yards per attempt, 35th in true completion, 21st in yards, still is in the single digits for touchdowns thrown, he’s 30th in points per game, and he’s 33rd in points per dropback. That is not entirely on the coaches nor the system, even though they for sure play a huge part. Tennessee is 19th in DVOA against the pass and they’ve allowed the seventh-most passing yards. I would rather find the money for Heinicke but would understand the appeal of a 1% rostered Lawerence in a great matchup.
RB – I want to be interested in James Robinson but this Jaguars coaching staff is making that wildly difficult. If coach Urban Meyer is to be believed, Robinson wasn’t 100% healthy and split snaps last week with Carlos Hyde. That would make sense except Hyde came in after Robinson lost a fumble and Robinson was getting carries in the fourth quarter when the game was a 30-point spread. Meyer is totally clueless if benching Robinson is the way he thinks things should be done, especially for Hyde. Robinson gets an average spot as Tennessee is 12th in yards allowed per attempt and they’ve allowed the seventh-fewest rushing yards to backs. However, they’ve faced the sixth-fewest carries as well. The salary is great but the situation is not on paper.
WR – Is it finally Laviska Shenault week? It seems kind of doubtful given the track record and but the targets have at least been a little more consistent. He’s seen 27 in the past four games and he got three carries in this past game. Shenault has been splitting time in the slot about half of his snaps ad that would put him on, Elijah Molden. Through his 36 targets faced, he’s given up a 123.5 passer rating and 69.4% completion rate. If there’s ever a week for Shenault to do something, this week checks the boxes. Marvin Jones continues to be mostly an afterthought in the offense and he draws the one half-decent corner of Tennessee. Kristian Fulton has let up just a 51.6% completion rate and a 94.3 passer rating.
TE – We got the targets from James O’Shaughnessy I was hoping for last week with six and he even led the team in air yards (36 but still counts). It’s a bad offense but the role isn’t changing and O’Shaugnessy has a 13.2% target share on the season. As long as Dan Arnold is on IR, he’s in play under $3,000.
D/ST – Bad defenses can have their usefulness for DFS but the Jaguars can’t do much for fantasy. They only have 20 sacks, they have just six turnovers forced (dead last), and they rank 29th in points allowed and 31st in total DVOA. There’s no reason to play them even against the Titans who are missing pieces.
GPP – Robinson, Shenault, Lawrence, O’Shaughnessy
QB – Much like every Titans offensive player not named Derrick Henry, Ryan Tannehill has had a truly awful season. He only has 14 touchdowns on the season compared to 13 interceptions and isn’t at 18 DraftKings points per game. While it’s fair to point out his main receivers have been in and out of the lineup with injuries, this is not what anyone expected from Tannehill this year. He is 23rd in true completion rate and 35th in deep completion rate, a big crimp on his production. The points per dropback are just 20th in the league and he’s also 18th in points per game. The good news is Jacksonville is a very beatable defense through the air as they rank 31st in DVOA and 29th in yards per attempt allowed. I really struggle with the salary because it doesn’t reflect how poorly Tannehill has played, but if he gets one of his receivers back this week he could have a 2020-esque performance.
RB – Dontrell Hilliard has made quite the impression for the Titans in just two games. He’s turned 29 total touches into 216 scrimmage yards and a score so far and he’s splitting time with D’Onta Foreman. With Derrick Henry not expected back for a couple of weeks, we should expect this split to continue but it should be noted that Foreman has more attempts at this point and a 6-1 lead in red zone attempts. With the salaries very similar, Foreman is the slightly better value given what the Titans have shown us. Jacksonville is ninth in yards per attempt allowed but they have faced the seventh-most attempts in the league. This tandem could provide some value to our lineups this week.
WR – If he’s back, Julio Jones is going to tempt me something fierce. A.J. Brown is still on IR and Julio is down to just $5,400 against the Jaguars defense. Julio has been terrible this year and injured through a lot of it but the number of targets coming his way would be fascinating. He has a 27.7% air yards share on the year and is ninth in yards per route. Nick Westbrook-Ikhine has seen 14 targets over the past two games and with Brown still missing, will be the number two option at worst. He’s been in the slot about 30% of the time but that could change based on who is available for the Titans this week.
Update – Julio is healthy and back in action, so I will have a lot of interest in GPP. I’m not sure I want to go there for cash given how untrustworthy he has been this year.
TE – There is not a tight end worth chasing for DFS on the Titans.
D/ST – The leader in snaps last week for Jacksonville was Laquon Treadwell. I feel like that says enough for the Titans being in play but if it isn’t, they do have 29 sacks which are inside the top 10 and 14 turnovers. The salary keeps me away and the fact they rank 23rd in total DVOA and points allowed doesn’t help. However, the Jaguars are a train wreck so it wouldn’t surprise me to see the Titans post a strong game.
Cash – None
GPP – Julio, Foreman, Westbrook-Ikhine, D/ST
QB – What a poor effort from Derek Carr and the Raiders last week. They never really pressed the ball downfield at all, which was incredible given the defense they were facing and extra time to prepare. Carr is still second in the league in yards and fifth in yards per attempt, but none of that showed up last week. The loss of Darren Waller was felt and despite ranking second in yards, Carr is just 24th in points per drop back and he’s 13th in passing touchdowns. It’s why his price is always very reasonable for being fourth in attempts this season. KC is 27th in yards per attempt allowed and 20th in DVOA against the pass but that latter number is notable. It used to be dead last and it’s reflecting the Chiefs playing much better defense lately. I’m not likely to go after Carr this week but the projected game script could help him rack up late production.
RB – We saw Sunday night that the Chiefs are still vulnerable to running backs and Kenyan Drake is now out for the season. That means Josh Jacobs should handle almost every single touch in this backfield and his targets have gone through the roof. He’s third on the team in targets since Henry Ruggs has been off the team with a 16.2% target share. Surely, we can’t expect nine targets again (I don’t think) but the 4-6 he’s seeing per game is a big boost to his floor and ceiling. Kansa City is 29th in yards allowed per attempt and lately, they haven’t exactly been blowing people out of the water. Jacobs could be quite overlooked on the slate, which would make him interesting.
WR – Depending on Waller, Hunter Renfrow could be still too cheap or he could be too expensive. Without Waller, he’s racked up 19 total targets (Waller only played 24% of Week 12), 236 yards, and 46.8 DraftKings points. The script would make you think he’s going to see a ton of targets once again. That’s translated to a 25.7% target share in that span and he could face some of L’Jarius Sneed. They would generally match up in the slot but Sneed has allowed a 68.1% completion rate and 103.7 passer rating, so there isn’t a need to back off. I’d love to try the DeSean Jackson but he does seem capped at around 45% of the snaps and is coming off just one target. He would be MME only at this point.
TE – If Darren Waller is back, he’s likely not expensive enough. If he’s not, Foster Moreau is not going to be on my radar at $4,000. Kansas City has allowed the eighth-most yards to the position but Moreau only saw three targets last week without Waller. Let’s see how the week unfolds.
Update – Waller is out so I’m just more interested in Renfrow.
D/ST – Normally, this is an easy pass and we move on. Don’t get it twisted, I’m not caping up for the Raiders defense against the Chiefs but in MME formats, life could be worse. Nobody will play them and they are 22nd in total DVOA along with 26th in points allowed. The Chiefs just scorched this unit a few weeks back so there is zero safety. However, Kansas City has not been that scary for weeks now. Only the Jets have more turnovers on the season than the 23 the Chiefs have. If they manage to hold KC to 24 points and turn the ball over once or twice with maybe a return, things could work out. Just understand the risk.
Cash – Jacobs, Renfrow
GPP – Carr, D/ST
QB – It’s really kind of crazy looking at the game logs for Patrick Mahomes. Since Week 6, he has not scored more than 15 DraftKings points other than one game. We’re heading into Week 14, guys. That’s an insane stretch for one of the best players in the game and his price is awfully high for someone that hasn’t shown the same upside we’ve been spoiled by. The big caveat to all of this is Mahomes has one game that he scored 39.2 DraftKings points and it came against this Raiders defense. He threw for five scores and 406 yards. Surely, if you think he does that again the price wouldn’t be nearly enough. Vegas is 23rd in DVOA against the pass and I’m not pretending the upside doesn’t exist. It’s just been harder to find this season.
RB – I can’t feel all that comfortable with Clyde Edwards-Helaire at this salary. He did see 17 touches Sunday night but the snaps were only 50.9% while Darrell Williams was on the field for 46.5% and had eight touches. The good news is CEH had those touches but paying over $6,000 for a back that’s on the field just half the time feels very difficult to do. It also doesn’t help that Willams generated 80 scrimmage yards to 82 for CEH. Vegas is 18th in yards per attempt allowed and they’ve given up almost 1,700 scrimmage yards but the salary is not great, even on a slate where we don’t have a lot of spend-up options for the position.
WR – With the Chiefs not hitting on all cylinders right now, I’ll be sticking with Tyreek Hill of anyone in the receiving corps. He had a bump in the road last week but that was the first time since Week 3 that he’s been under nine targets. Hill is second in receptions, sixth in yards, seventh in air yards share, first in unrealized air yards, second in targets, and fifth in deep targets. Reek is also still fifth in points per game and faces off against Nate Hobbs for some of his snaps. He moves around a ton and Hobbs has only faced 32 targets. His big issue is the 4.5-second 40-yard dash time and Hill has elite speed even for an NFL receiver. Hill has a major advantage there and always has upside with 10+ targets.
TE – I’ll never say you can’t play Travis Kelce and the only time he’s been over 20 DraftKings since Week 3 came against Vegas in the first game. Kelce is first among tight ends in yards, receptions, unrealized air yards, routes, and targets. You can’t ask for much more and yet, he’s averaging under 17 DraftKings points per game. It felt like any time you rostered Kelce, it was a cheat code because he was an extra receiver or some weeks running back. He still has that upside, but it hasn’t been all that tangible this year.
D/ST – The Chiefs defense has really been turning things around lately. Since Week 8, they haven’t allowed more than 17 points, they have 11 takeaways, and they’ve tacked on 12 sacks. The Raiders don’t appear to be the largest threat to change that even if Waller is back and the salary is solid. Carr has been sacked the eighth-most times and they may not be a priority but they are well in play with their newly found competence.
Cash – Kelce, D/ST
GPP – Mahomes, Hill, CEH
QB – All signs point to Taysom Hill starting again and he’s just way, way too cheap, and will almost surely be my cash game quarterback. He’s the perfect intersection of fantasy scoring vs. real life because, in his starts, he’s been a pretty trash real-life quarterback. I mean, the man threw four interceptions last game and he still scored over 27 DraftKings points. Since the beginning of last year, Hill has made five starts. He’s finished as the QB4, QB11, QB8, QB11, and QB4. He’s rushed for at least 33 yards in every single game (and that upside is far higher given the state of the Saints offense) and the Jets defense is among the worst in football. It’s only Wednesday but I love Hill at this salary and the only reason I would jump off is if he’s sub-5% rostered. Even then, I’d have a heavy does in GPP but I suspect he’s everyone’s cash game option this week.
RB – We’re not sure yet if Alvin Kamara can make it back into the lineup o if it will be Mark Ingram. Either way, I’ll likely be interested. I wouldn’t expect Kamara to handle a full workload but he’s also under $8,000. If it’s Ingram, I won’t have any hesitation to attack this Jets run defense. They’ve allowed the third-most rushing yards to backs, rank 26th in yards per attempt, Ingram did have a very poor game last time but in the previous two without Kamara, he had at least 18 touches. If you’re telling me I can get 18+ touches against the defense at $5,800, I’m all in and there’ not much of a discussion to be had.
Update – Ingram is in the Covid protocols and is out. The Saints are calming that Kamara is fully healthy and ready to handle his full workload.
WR – Tying yourself to a receiver that’s relying on Hill to get them the ball is highly volatile, but the Saints are short on options. Deonte Harris is out and they cut Kenny Stills. That leaves Tre’Quan Smith, Marquez Callaway, and Lil’Jordan Humphrey as the top guys. Harris saw eight targets last week with Hill so that actually is a big loss. Smith and Callaway played about 68% of the snaps but Smith led in targets at 7-4 while Humphrey only saw two but did score a touchdown. He could fill the role of Harris, who played 40% of the snaps. The largest issue is they saw a combined 13 targets and had four receptions. This is the Jets defense, but the fear is the Saints run a lot with Kamara and Hill and you’re left with scraps.
Smith has been playing a decent amount in the slot at 43.4% but they all rotate in as Humphrey has a 41.7% share in his much lower amount of snaps. Callaway would draw the “toughest” matchup in Bryce Hall but he’s allowed 1.60 fantasy points per target and a 97.3 passer rating. All the other corners are far worse so the matchups are great. It’s just relying on Hill that is frightening.
Update – The Saints had to re-sign Stills because Harris is out, Humphrey is questionable, and now Ty Montgomery is in Covid protocols as well.
TE – Nick Vannett could be super sneaky as he played 60% of the snaps and saw four targets last game for the Saints. Hill is not a quality quarterback so using the tight end is a stronger possibility. Juwan Johnson did get hurt but he came back into the game and still saw just one target. The Jets are in the bottom 10 in yards and receptions allowed to the position and Vannett is so cheap that he has my attention as a punt.
D/ST – Among the defenses that are priced above $3,500, the Saints are my favorite. They are fifth in total DVOA, 19th in points per game allowed, and they have a pressure rate of just under 25%. The Jets still have allowed the highest pressure rate on the season at 30.8% and New York has turned the ball over more than any other team in football. If they can fit, I’m very interested in playing them.
Cash – Hill, Kamara (can be played together in my eyes)
GPP – Vannett, Humphrey, Smith, Callaway, D/ST
QB – Zach Wilson had what was likely the best game of his career last week but I simply won’t do it with Hill being just $300 more in a much better matchup. Wilson only turned it over once but might be down to Jamison Crowder as his number one receiver, which is sketchy. New Orleans is 12th in DVOA against the pass and he is still just 35th in points per dropback and 34th in clean completion rate. It does help him that Saints defensive lineman Cameron Jordan could miss the game, but it’s not enough to risk the floor here in my eyes.
RB – The Jets appear to be committed to Tevin Coleman while Michael Carter is sidelined as he’s had 27 carries and seven targets in two games. Now, that really doesn’t matter to me because the Saints have one of the best run defenses in football. They lead in yards per attempt at just 3.6 yards and have allowed the third-fewest rushing yards to backs. Coleman has yet to hit 11 DraftKings points in either game and I think this one is a pretty easy pass. Wilson showed a little bit of upside on Sunday and it still didn’t do much for Coleman.
Update – The Jets will have to split work between Ty Johnson and Austin Walter as Coleman is out, but I’ll pass against this stout run defense.
WR – Corey Davis is now on the shelf for the season and that opens up Elijah Moore to sand out even further…if he’s active. After the bye week, the rookie receiver has been on a tear and leads the team in target share at 20.2% and air yards share at 33%. He’s also easily pacing the team in yards at 472 and while he would see some Marshon Lattimore, the New Orleans corner is inconsistent. However, Moore has been bothered by an injury this week and needs to be cleared before we jump in.
That could leave Jamison Crowder to take on more work as well but he likely won’t move from the slot with a 69.7% rate. The Jets would install others on the outside like Keelan Cole but I’m not sure how interested we should be there. Crowder would face P.J. Williams who has faced 21 targets but allowed a 71.4% catch rate. If Moore is out, he would be my primary target.
Update – Moore is out, so Crowder is in play.
TE – There’s really no reason to play Ryan Griffin even though he scored last week. He only saw two targets and his target share is just 8.2%.
D/ST – You could twist my arm if Hill is starting again but the nine turnovers forced is tough to get excited about. The Jets are dead last in total DVOA and points allowed but they at least have 27 sacks. The only reason to play them is if you think Hill turns it over multiple times, but even that is thin with the Jets defense.
Cash – Crowder
GPP – Wilson in MME
QB – We talked about this last week and Matt Ryan continued the streak in Week 13. Since Calvin Ridley has left the Falcons, any upside for Ryan has gone as well with just one finish over 12 DraftKings points. I’m not sure there’s any reason to think that changes this week as Carolina is fifth in DVOA against the pass and third in yards allowed per attempt. Ryan is ninth in attempts but it’s only translated to 11th in yards, 24th in yards per attempt, and 29th in points per drop back. I’ll have no real interest here.
RB – The salary came down slightly for Cordarrelle Patterson but I’m not sure I totally love him. The targets haven’t been there quite as much lately, with just 16 over the past four games. That’s only 12.8% in that span and if he’s not getting a large share, he’s more of just a regular running back. Carolina is 13th in yards per attempt and they are about mid-pack in total rushing yards given up. Additionally, they have surrendered the fewest receiving yards and receptions against the position as well. That’s not ideal for Patterson and there will be backs that I like better along the way.
WR – Full credit to our guy Sia for walking into the live chat last Sunday and calling the Russel Gage game as he went off for 11/130. The salary didn’t move that much (I would prefer Moore from the Jets if possible) and he’s still under $6,000. He’s now the co-leader in targets with no Ridley at a 20.7% target share and when he’s in the slot he could face A.J. Bouye. The corner for Carolina has allowed a 73.3% catch rate but the loss of Donte Jackson should push Bouye more towards the boundary. Gage is playing 44% in the slot but that means over half of his snaps are not in the slot. He would be the only receiver that I would consider for Atlanta as nobody else has a share over 12.6% since Ridley has been out.
TE – I know the week I stop playing Kyle Pitts he’s going to go off but it’s hard to keep saying the metrics are there with no return. He’s only scored double-digit DraftKings points in four of 12 games this year and only one 15 twice. That’s not exactly the best odds here at $5,500 even though he is somehow seventh in receptions and third in yards among the position. Pitts only has a 74.4% catchable rate and that’s 24th among the position so I can’t see making him a priority this week at the salary.
D/ST – I’m not sure even the Panthers offense can tempt me into playing the Falcons defense. I know they have had quarterback issues (to be kind) this season, but the Falcons have had defense issues. They rank 29th in total DVOA, 31st in points allowed, 32nd in sacks with just 15, and have a pressure rate barely over 16%. It’s just hard to see where the points come from unless Carolina just completely goes off the rails again.
Cash – Gage
GPP – Pitts, Patterson
QB – Perhaps the biggest leap of faith at the position is Cam Newton. I’ll be frank, I’m not plying him because I like other cheap options far better. Cam reminded everyone why he was on the street for most of this year last week with a 5-21 performance (seriously….5 completions) and he only scored eight DraftKings points because he scored a rushing touchdown. The Atlanta defense theoretically is one to attack as they sit 29th in DVOA against the pass and 27th in yards allowed per attempt. Cam just inspires zero confidence and others can score the same amount of fantasy points as he can.
RB – With the news that offensive coordinator Joe Brady was fired for not running the ball enough, Chubba Hubbard could turn into a value. It would be a leap of faith because he hasn’t been that great when Christian McCaffrey was out. However, there were two games that he got 20+ carries and hit 15 DraftKings points each time. Atlanta is just 15th in yards per attempt and 16th in rushing yards allowed. The DVOA against the run is just so there is a definite upside to the play but there’s also plenty of risks. I’ll be interested to see what the field does here and I feel like if he gets the touches coach Matt Ruhle wants, he could really hit value.
WR – While I do wish D.J. Moore could get himself a quarterback, he’s hit at least 16 DraftKings points in each of the past two weeks. Moore also boasts the fourth-highest air yards share at 40.9%, he’s 12th in receptions, 13th in yards, fourth in unrealized air yards, and 19th in points per game. Moore is an elite receiver but he just hasn’t had the player to get him the ball consistently. A.J. Terrell has had a great season overall with just a 42.1% catch rate and 61.8 passer rating allowed but Moore is capable, if very unstable in this spot. Robby Anderson is far beyond the point of tempting me anymore as his 29 receptions on 69 targets are just abysmal.
TE – There is no tight end of fantasy value for the Panthers.
D/ST – They are still tied for fourth in sacks on the season with 32 and the pressure rate is also second at 28.7% so they’re in play for me. The takeaways are a little lackluster but Carolina is seventh in total DVOA and the Falcons have allowed 26 sacks on the season. The fact we can get this unit under $3,000 is a nice bonus and they are also seventh in points allowed per game. It’s a good bargain, even though they have lost some important pieces.
Cash – None, D/ST
GPP – Moore, Hubbard
QB – I was very surprised how poorly Lamar Jackson played last week (and really the week before that) and he might leave some folks a little scared of him. He’s had three straight down games but he should have still hit 20 DraftKings points last week if he and Mark Andrews connect on the two-point conversion. Regardless, I don’t think he plays so poorly against Cleveland again and throws another four picks. He has way more upside than the salary represents and is fifth in points per dropback. Jackson leads all quarterbacks in rushing attempts and yards but somehow has only found the end zone twice with his legs so far. He’s scored seven rushing touchdowns in each of the past two seasons so that seems like it should correct sooner or later and I’ll have GPP interest.
RB – We just saw this matchup a couple of weeks ago and it was among the uglier games of the season. Devonta Freeman got plenty of touches with 17 in that game and that has been the case in every game since Week 9. He’s taken the reins in this Baltimore backfield and racked up another 20 DraftKings points last week. Cleveland is a much stouter run defense than the Steelers, ranking seventh in yards per attempt and 12th in rushing yards allowed to backs. While Freeman does have games with a bunch of targets, the overall target share since Week 9 is still just 11.8%. It generally won’t be a huge part of his game but we’re talking about the back sitting ninth in carries across the league since Week 9. The volume is there and nobody played him last week, he could be interesting in that aspect alone.
WR – After seeing Rashod Bateman dip to just 42% of the snaps last week, I wouldn’t be looking at him too heavily this week. He and Sammy Watkins have been rotating a lot since Watkins came back in Week 10, with Watkins having played 49.2% of the snaps and Bateman sitting at 53.7%. Jackson is just 19th in passing attempts so it doesn’t make sense to chase players that have a 50% share of playing time in a lower volume passing offense.
That leaves us looking at Marquise Brown, who hasn’t had a big day since Week 9 (coincidentally not since Watkins has returned). He always has major potential but the salary is still up there, even for someone who is ninth in air yards and fifth in unrealized air yards. Hollywood is third in deep targets but they haven’t always connected and there is volatility. He should see plenty of Denzel Ward who has been targeted just 38 times. He’s allowed a 101.2 passer rating and he won’t shadow, but I can’t say Brown is a primary target.
TE – It was a highly disappointing effort from Mark Andrews last week but he racked up another nine targets and is now under $6,000. He is second in both yards and receptions on the season and third in unrealized air yards with the sixth-most touchdowns. No tight end has more deep targets than Andrews and he’s also second in targets. The Browns are tied for the fourth-most touchdowns allowed to the position and Andrews is always an option.
D/ST – I do get that they only scored two DraftKings points last week, but I’m not sure why Baltimore is so cheap. They can stop the run and get pressure, as they have the seventh-highest pressure rate and rank fifth in DVOA against the run. If you can take that away from Cleveland, they’re in trouble. The only facet holding me back is the Ravens just lost corner Marlon Humphrey to injury and that’s a big blow. Still, the salary is very affordable and the Browns are far from scary at this point.
Cash – Lamar, Andrews, D/ST
GPP – Freeman, Brown
QB – Baker Mayfield has likely cost himself a ton of money this year with his play and he’s not been in our lineups at all. That trend should continue this week as Baker is the QB26 on the year and he’s 25th in points per dropback, 23rd in attempts, 24th in yards, and has thrown just 11 touchdowns. It’s almost like Odell Beckham was not the reason this passing game wasn’t doing anything of note. Baker is facing the 27th ranked DVOA against the pass and Baltimore is now down even more corners, but I will not be playing him this week.
RB – If fading Nick Chubb is what beats me this week, then so be it because I’m not paying the salary for him. I’m not sure exactly what the plan was from Cleveland as they gave him just eight attempts in a game that was never that far out of hand. With his limited passing role (5.6% target share), it can be hard to go after Chubb when he’s pricey against what has statistically been a good run defense. They rank sixth in yards per attempt and the Ravens have only given up the fifth-fewest rushing yards to backs this season. Chubb is not a player that I’m going to be playing much, if at all this week.
WR – The loss of Humphrey does raise my interest in the Cleveland receivers to some extent. First, Jarvis Landry had a big game the first time around with 6/111 and he’s getting healthier by all appearances. The past two games have seen him be targeted 18 times, which is more in line with what we all thought when Beckham left. He’s very cheap on DraftKings and nine targets per game would be great. He’s likely to face some of Jimmy Smith because Humphrey was still playing in the slot at 31.4%. That’s a big boost for Landry.
Donovan Peoples-Jones is the GPP target with the field-stretcher role has he ranks second in yards per reception at 18.9 and second in yards per target at 12.1. It, of course, is fair to say that he’s only seen 28 targets so some of that is a big grain of salt, but the role is important and it only takes one. He also benefits from no Humphrey as Tavon Young has allowed a 64.5% catch rate. I wouldn’t play him in SE, but if you need a cheap receiver he’s at least on the board.
TE – The Browns will need to give us clarity on David Njoku sometime this week as he’s on the Covid list. He’s not been ruled out yet but with Harrison Bryant already doubtful, Austin Hooper could be the last man standing at the position. Njoku has an 11.7% target share on the season while Hooper is at 13.1% so if Njoku can’t go, Hooper should see eight targets or maybe more. That’s not an automatic bet for production but the Browns use the tight end so much it’s hard to leave him behind at this salary.
Update – Hooper is indeed the lone tight end left but don’t forget, that helps Landry as well.
D/ST – The Browns totally confused Lamar and the Ravens offense a couple of weeks ago but I don’t feel great about it happening again. The good news for them is no quarterback has been sacked more than Jackson this year and Cleveland has 31. They are also 12th in points per game allowed and 16th in DVOA, so they aren’t a poor unit. I would rather play Baltimore but can’t say Cleveland is totally out of line.
Cash – Landry, Hooper
GPP – Chubb, Peoples-Jones
QB – Jake Fromm could be the last man standing in the quarterback room for the Giants and I’m not sure that I can build the case for him. He’s yet to take a snap in the NFL and was a fifth-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft. He is under $4,000 but nothing about this Giants offense would suggest that he’s in a smash spot. They are only 28th in points scored this year and Fromm would really be relying on his teammates for some production. This is a risk not worth taking in my eyes in a very flawed offense.
Update – Now Mike Glennon is in line to start but that changes nothing. The only difference is we have a track record of Glennon being horrible.
RB – This is the ultimate test of matchup vs. terrible offense. We have Saquon Barkley at just $6,000 on DraftKings against one of the worst run defenses in the league. Normally this would be a smash spot but all that got smashed last week were my Joe Mixon lineups. The Chargers are still 28th in yards per attempt allowed and 31st in rushing yards allowed to backs. Barkley has yet to really flash since returning from injury and will likely be dealing with the third-string quarterback. Where that may help is the passing game as Barkley saw nine targets last week so I will have interest, we’ll see if it has to be GPP-only.
Update – I’m even more interested Saquon now that Glennon fed him nine targets last week
WR – The receiver room can’t catch a break as Kadarius Toney left Thursday with another injury. Kenny Golladay and Sterling Shepard are both questionable while Darius Slayton is about the only one left healthy. For me, I’d just be hoping Shepard could make it back and be full-go because if not, I’d likely steer clear. Corners Chris Harris and Asante Samuel Jr. are both questionable for this game and that plays a big part. Really, this situation is the same as it has been for weeks. We need the Friday update (for both sides) before we can do much with it.
Update – Golladay and Shepard remain questionable but I would steer clear. The Chargers have two of their starting corners active and you absolutely cannot trust Glennon here. If anyone, Slayton could be the man to target as he’s the healthiest but I will get my Giants exposure from Saquon.
TE – I can’t bring myself to play Evan Engram for about any reason at this point. He only has a 15.2% target share and that’s been with receiver missing from the Giants lineup and he’s 17th in receptions and 23rd in yards. Of course, he missed games, and that matters but we’re looking at an average of 3.5 receptions and 33.4 yards per game. That’s not going to cut it for fantasy.
D/ST – The Giants are 13th in total DVOA and 18th in points per game given up but I’m not convinced this is the spot for them. The Chargers have only allowed the 26th ranked pressure rate and 19 sacks, which doesn’t bode well for a team that has just the fifth-most sacks on the season. New York has forced 19 takeaways so there is some small potential but it’s not a path for me.
Cash – Saquon
GPP – Shepard, Slayton in MME only
QB – It could be a very interesting spot for Justin Herbert. He deserves to be pricey and I still have no real hesitation in playing him, but he could be down his top two receivers. Both Mike Williams and Keenan Allen are in Covid protocols so they could be inactive this week. The Giants defense is somehow eighth in DVOA but is over 3,000 yards given up and tied for the sixth-most touchdowns allowed. Herbert is fourth in yards, third in attempts, fifth in red-zone attempts, and eighth in points per dropback. I think the missing receivers might take a bit of the ceiling off but he could still very easily hit 3x at the salary.
RB – We could wind up seeing heavy Austin Ekeler chalk this week simply by default. The field generally likes to pay up for safe running backs and Ekeler is about as safe as they come. He scored 19 DraftKings points last week even with two fumbles and Ekeler is only two receptions behind the league lead. That is on top of ranking 14th in carries and being tied for fourth in red zone attempts on the season. The Giants are bottom 10 in receptions allowed, receiving yards allowed, and rushing yards allowed. Not only is Ekeler probably going to be chalk, but he is also likely strong chalk.
WR – Talk about needing a Friday update. Both Keenan Allen and Mike Williams are in Covid protocols but they are NOT ruled out as of Thursday. They can both clear protocols with negative tests and be active on Sunday. If they do not, we are looking at very cheap and very popular players in both Jalen Guyton and Josh Palmer. I’ve seen much of the fantasy world flock to Guyton and I don’t think that’s wrong, per se. He’s the more recognized name and leads in snaps and targets by a good distance between the two. However, since the bye week (always a key point for rookies), Palmer has 11 targets and Guyton has 14. The gap has closed. If Williams and Allen are both out, you can stack Guyton and Palmer together for just $7,400 and I would be happy to do so.
Update – Allen is out but Williams is in, and is very cheap to be the number one option. The expectation is Palmer rolls into the slot since 37.9% of his snaps already came in the slot. At the minimum, that is extremely hard to ignore and the Giants are without Adoree’ Jackson who is one of their starting corners. In years past, James Bradberry was a problem. He should in theory be better suited against the bigger (and slightly slower) Williams but he’s allowed 1.95 fantasy points per target.
TE – The duo of Jared Cook and Donald Parham are still splitting the targets lately and they saw four targets each last week. That also continues to cap the upside and makes it harder to want to play either of them. If anyone, it’s still Cook as he has a small edge in red-zone targets at 7-5. The Giants have only given up four touchdowns on the season and neither one is a priority on this slate.
D/ST – The Chargers are pretty much out of my pool due to salary and the weirdness of last week’s score. They were gifted a defensive touchdown and an interception that should have been a touchdown for the Bengals. They’re just 27th in points allowed per game and 19th in total DVOA. The matchup is spectacular against whoever the Giants trot out at quarterback but the salary is hard to swallow for a unit that is not elite by any measure.
Cash – Ekeler, Herbet, Williams
GPP – Palmer, Guyton, Cook, Parham
Update – The Lions are now without Jamaal Williams, D’Andre Swift, and T.J. Hockenson. Run from this game.
QB – I’ll tip my hat to Jared Goff for hitting 21 DraftKings points last week (I think I may have been able to complete the game-winner but he still did it). That doesn’t mean I want to get too involved this week on the road in Denver. He’s still just 20th in yards, 31st in true completion rate, and 34th in points per dropback. With Denver ranking 16th in DVOA and 15th in yards per attempt, Goff doesn’t look like that strong of a play. It’s just easy to get to some of the higher ceiling players for a few hundred more dollars.
RB – The Jamaal Williams show did not go well last week, as he generated just nine DraftKings points on 18 touches. It was very surprising to see him only be targeted one time and that hurt the floor. D’Andre Swift could be out again this week but the is up in the air early on. Denver has been strong against the run as they are in the top half of the league in rushing yards allowed to backs but 20th in yards per attempt. We’ll need clarity before we make a move on this backfield this week.
WR – The Lions claim we’re going to see “more deep passing” in these last few games. Sure, sounds like a plan to hold those plays back until Week 14. Anyways, Amon-Ra St. Brown and Josh Reynolds have seized the passing game as far as receivers go since Reynolds got there in Week 11. In those three games, Reynolds has a 17.4% target share and a whopping 42.2% air yards share, but it’s St. Brown who leads the entire team in targets at 20.
Now, some of that is skewed by 12 last week but he’s playing more consistent snaps as well. St. Brown has the eighth-highest slot rate in football at 68.6% and would see Kyle Fuller. He’s only allowed a 55.3% catch rate but he’s also let up 14.6 yards per reception, so St. Brown is on the table even though he feels pricey. Reynolds would see more of Patrick Surtain, who continues to be mostly excellent. Teams try to pick on him at 69 targets but his catch rate allowed is just 46.4%. I’d still rather play Reynolds given the salaries involved.
TE – It’s a weird game for a night end that sees eight targets, finds the paint, and still scores under 15 DraftKings points. That’s been the story with T.J. Hockenson virtually all season as the upside has been very limited with no scores over 18 DraftKings points since Week 2. He still ranks in the top 10 in receptions and yards but there still hasn’t been much luck scoring with just four touchdowns. On the road in Denver isn’t going to be the easiest spot and much like Pitts, I’m not going out of my way to play him.
D/ST – I’m not that happy to punt with the Lions on the road even though Denver is just average. Detroit is 28th in total DVOA and points per game allowed, not to mention just 19 sacks which are the second-fewest in the league. Denver has allowed the second-highest pressure rate so there is a path to success, but not a strong one.
GPP – Reynolds, St. Brown
QB – The Lions are pretty much a dream matchup but playing Teddy Bridgewater is so hard to get behind. The talent around him is not an issue and he’s still just 16th in yards, yards per attempt, and just 21st in points per dropback. Teddy Two Gloves is also only 23rd in points per game and just 14th in touchdowns, so past the matchup, it’s difficult to see the tangible upside. We know the Lions can’t defend the pass well with the 12th most yards allowed and sitting 28th in DVOA against the pass. Still, Bridgewater doesn’t scream out to be rostered this week. It could very easily just be a run-heavy attack.
RB – One player who did take advantage of his chance to shine was Javonte Williams. The entire fantasy community has been clamoring since the preseason and if Melvin Gordon misses again, he will be the most rostered player on the slate. Williams is only $5,900 and would face the Detroit defense that ranks 29th in rushing yards allowed, 14th in yards per attempt, and in DVOA. Much like Detroit, the status of this backfield is a huge piece of the slate.
Update – The belief is that Gordon will play, which saps all the upside away from this spot.
WR – I simply don’t know what to do with these receivers anymore. Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton are both very talented guys but the production hasn’t been there. We can go round and round about if it’s quarterback-related or whatever but they feel expensive. We say Justin Jefferson scorch this Lions secondary and that would generally lead me to Sutton. He’s still fourth in air yards share at 37.5% and third in unrealized air yards while facing Amani Oruwariye who has allowed a 15.2 YPR. Jeudy faces off against Jerry Jacobs in the slot and he’s allowed 1.67 fantasy points per target to this point. It’s a question of QB play and how much Denver needs to pass here.
TE – It’s a shame that Noah Fant has been a total non-factor this year and even though he is seventh in receptions, he’s 14th in yards and 12th in points per game. He’s only found the paint three times despite having 13 red-zone targets which really caps any upside. The target share is just 18.5% and he’s not even averaging 10 fantasy points per game. Bridgewater can’t support multiple receivers and a tight end on top of it, so Fant is left wanting more often than not.
D/ST – Just like the Chargers, Denver is out of play for me mostly due to salary. Only the Patriots and Bills allow fewer points but Denver is just 20th in total DVOA, which is surprising. Goff has been sacked the fifth-most in football with the 10th highest pressure rate. There is potential there to be sure but the salary is high.
Cash – None
GPP – Williams, Sutton, Jeudy, D/ST, Fant, Gordon
QB – The weaker options continue with Jimmy Garoppolo and even last week in a script that should have served him well, he managed 18 DraftKings points. He was lucky to get so many yards because George Kittle was a YAC MONSTER in last week’s game. He’s only 19th in yards and down in the 20’s in both attempts and red zone attempts. The points per dropback show some efficiency a the 11th most but the volume doesn’t follow. Perhaps if they have no running back options I’ll be a little more inclined o go here but I don’t think that’s likely.
RB – The 49ers could be in a tough spot. Elijah Mitchell is in concussion protocol, as is Trenton Cannon. Jeff Wilson is “banged up” and Trey Sermon is on IR. Kyle Shanahan has said they will be holding tryouts to start the week because as of right now, JaMychal Hasty is the lone man standing if no other back could play. The Bengals are 11th in yards per attempt and in the top-five in rushing yards to backs allowed, but we need to know who’s even going to be active here.
Update – It’s the Hasty and Wilson show and let me perfectly clear – Jeff Wilson is a cash only option. Read up on why in Stix’s GPP article as to why, but I couldn’t be more in line that IF I play Wilson, it’s simply to match the field in cash and for NO other reason.
WR – The correct answer to which wide receiver to play without Deebo Samuel active was “none” as every receiver disappointed last week. I’m not sure who needs to hear this, but Trent Sherfield does not need five targets while Brandon Aiyuk gets six. If Deebo is out again, this would be mostly an avoid for me. Sherfield is the minimum on DraftKings but man that is dicey. He lead in snaps while Aiyuk played 93% so the playing time was great but Kittle did so much. Even if Deebo is back, Aiyuk should see most of Eli Apple and that is a boost for Apple. He’s been vulnerable to the big play with 13.6 YPR allowed and 1.56 fantasy points per target. We’ll see if Samuel is active before making a move here.
TE – After George Kittle broke the slate last week, his price is justifiably high. It was nice to see Kittle back to a vintage performance of 9/181/2 and he would have that upside again if Samuel is out. On the season, he has a 25.7% target share which leads the position, and is top 10 in receptions and yards. Kittle also leads in yards run per route and when he’s fully healthy like he is right now, he can break any slate and the matchup doesn’t matter. I’m not sure I’ll pay this if Samuel is active but we’ll see how the week unfolds. Cincinnati is also 18th in DVOA and their offense could force Jimmy G into a big game but things really have to align here.
D/ST – San Francisco is generally fine and they have a good matchup as far as sack potential. Cincinnati has allowed the second-most sacks in the league and a pressure rate over 25%. The 49ers are 20th in points allowed but ninth in total DVOA. They have 28 sacks on the season and the price is solid, if not anything crazy great.
Cash – Kittle, Wilson, Aiyuk is Deebo is out
GPP – Hasty, Deebo is still questionable
QB – Joe Burrow says he’s going to play with a finger injury on his throwing hand. It didn’t seem to have any ill effects on him last game so I’m not overly concerned with that aspect. San Francisco isn’t the most intimidating defense either as they rank 17th in DVOA against the pass but ninth in yards per attempt allowed. For Burrow, he’s played well when he’s avoided mistakes. He’s ninth in yards and third in yards per attempt despite big just 17th in attempts. He’s also 12th in both points per game and points per drop back and his salary doesn’t make a ton of sense to me. He’s very affordable and even though he’s just 23rd in red zone attempts, I’m very intrigued.
RB – Joe Mixon let me down last week but that’s sometimes going to happen in football. The game script got out of hand, then the Bengals came back only to see Mixon commit a backbreaking fumble. He still touched the ball 19 times and with Burrow’s hand issue, he could be in for a heavy workload. Mixon is now second in the NFL in carries and he’s 14 carries behind the lead in one fewer game. San Francisco is only 21st in yards per attempt allowed so this could be a worse spot for Mixon and you know the volume will be there. I wouldn’t be shocked if he’s not that popular this week.
Update- Mixon has not practiced all week but is expected to be available. If he’s not, Samaje Perine would be in for a lot of touches as Chris Evans is out.
WR – Tee Higgins and Ja’Marr Chase have reversed roles the past couple of weeks as Higgins has been going crazy and Chase has been quiet. He’s had some drop issues the past 2-3 games and one killed the Bengals last week as he batted the ball directly to a Charger instead of scoring a touchdown. 49ers corner Emmanuel Moseley has been ruled out and that’s a big deal.
Both Josh Norman and Dontae Jackson have allowed at least 1.88 fantasy points per target so the matchups for both players are fantastic. Higgins now has the lead in target share at 25.5% (Chase is at 24.2%) and the air yards share red-zone targets, and the end zone targets are all right about the same for both. Now may be the time to leverage the field chasing the big games from Higgins to play Chase in GPP. Tyler Boyd is a clear third wheel at a 19.4% target share but the salary is affordable. K’Waun Williams mans the slot at 82.7% of the time for the 49ers and he’s only been targeted 35 targets but has allowed a 77.1% catch rate.
TE – C.J. Uzomah continues to not be DFS relevant in this offense with just a 10.8% target share and only three red-zone targets on the season.
D/ST – I want to see if Deebo is back before deciding. In fairness, the Bengals do have a top 10 pressure rate and 36 sacks to go along with ranking 15th in total DVOA. They are also 12th in points allowed with 17 turnovers forced, so if Deebo is out there is some big potential. If he plays, I’m likely out.
Cash – Mixon, Higgins
GPP – Chase, Burrow, Boyd
QB – Josh Allen shouldn’t be facing the same elements this week and that should help make a huge difference. He’s sixth in attempts, seventh in yards, third in red zone attempts, and first in air yards on the season. Ranking fourth in points per dropback and points per game is a nice notch in the belt and he’ll likely have to have a big game. Tampa is ninth in DVOA against the pass and is getting healthier but I don’t think Buffalo even pretends to run the ball. Even with some inefficiency, Allen is still going to have a huge amount of volume this week and I’m totally fine playing him anywhere.
RB – Tampa is still one of the best run defenses in football and Buffalo can’t decide which running back they like on any given week. Devin Singletary and Zack Moss split carries last week with Matt Breida being out of the rotation. This is a game where I would highly doubt the Bills even pretend to run the ball so I’m not interested in any back. Since Breida has been more of a player in the offense, Singletary leads with 35 carries in four games. That is not enough to target and Breida and Moss are tied at 18 carries each.
WR – We mostly have to throw out the last game for the Buffalo receivers due to the weather conditions. Stefon Diggs is still the main man in the Buffalo passing game and he’s 10th in both receptions and yards while sitting 15th in yard per route and third in red-zone targets. Carlton Davis has been active for just five games (only three with a snap rate over 81%) and he’s been targeted 35 targets. The passer rating allowed is 117.8 and it’s a massive 16.8 YPR so I have zero fear with Diggs and think he could go absolutely nuts.
Cole Beasley continues to be in the slot about 82% of the time but he may only see 4-5 targets, just like Emmanuel Sanders. Sean Murphy-Bunting mans the slot somewhat for the Bucs and he’s been out for some games as well. Across his 24 targets, he’s only allowed 11.1 YPR and a 58.3% catch rate. Sanders could see Jamel Dean and he’s been tough across the 41 targets with a 43.9% catch rate and 8.7 YPR. All in all, Diggs is of course the best play but I would rather play Beasley over Sanders. I think the matchup is better and if Sanders struggles to get separation, Beasley could be a big factor.
TE – My goodness did Dawson Knox have a tough game on Monday. He dropped multiple passes that could have altered the outcome of that game and I’m betting he’s coming at the bit to get back at it this week. Tampa has allowed the third-most receptions and 10th most yards to the position and Buffalo can be a tough offense to cover. Knox leads the position in touchdowns and he’s fourth in deep targets so I don’t mind him but he does feel a little pricey. I’d likely reserve him as a stacking option for Allen rather than a one-off.
D/ST – The Bills defense has been getting smoked lately and just hasn’t been playing well. That’s not what we want to see heading into Tampa. The seasonal stats still look great as they’re first in total DVOA and points given up but the eye test lately says differently. The Bucs don’t give up sacks (31st) and the pressure rate is just 10.6%. I’ll pass even at the depressed salary.
Cash – Allen, Diggs
GPP – Beasley, Knox, Sanders
QB – He’s not facing the Atlanta defense this week but Tom Brady is more than in play. He’s one of the largest exceptions to the rule of wanting some rushing upside with a quarterback this expensive. Brady can throw for four touchdowns in any given game and he leads in attempts, red zone attempts, yards, and touchdowns. Even though Buffalo is first in DVOA against the pass, Brady has shredded just about any defense he’s ever faced. This game has far and away the largest total on the slate and both quarterbacks stand out.
RB – It’s still unbelievable to see Leonard Fournette leading the league in receptions among running backs. Buffalo still has a strong run defense on the season but they have been gouged lately and Fournette seems almost guaranteed 18+ touches every single week. He’s also second in red zone carries on the season and just has every facet we value with high-priced running backs. Perhaps the seasonal numbers scare people off Fournette but he could be a very contrarian play.
WR – Antonio Brown isn’t going to be back for another few weeks and that means we can continue to go after Mike Evans and Chris Godwin. For once, I may actually prefer Evans. I know, big difference, right? No Tre White will prove to be a big deal sooner or later and it might be this week. Evans is cheaper and still saw 10 targets last week and he’s seen 26 targets in the past three games with Gronk active. That’s tied for the second-most and he’ll see Levi Wallace for some of the snaps. Wallace has been targeted just 47 times and allows an 84.5 passer rating but he’s considerably smaller. I don’t know if I can see him winning a lot of jump balls, to say the least. It would be a surprise if Tampa didn’t try to align Evans away from Wallace now as well.
Godwin went full Wolverine Berserker last week for 33.2 DraftKings points and while he’s in the slot 56.8% of the time, he’ll see Taron Johnson. Godwin is first in routes, fifth in receptions, and seventh in yards and Johnson has only allowed a 46.3% catch rate. I still favor Godwin in the matchup but think it’s time to get after Evans in what we hope is a shootout.
TE – Rob Gronkowski has turned back the clock the past three weeks and with at least four receptions, 58 yards, and/or a touchdown in every game. I’m looking for that streak to continue since AB is still missing from the offense and even though the matchup is tough on paper, that doesn’t exactly matter with the Bucs offense. Gronk has rolled up 25 targets in the past three weeks and he leads the team in receiving yards and touchdowns. That’s about all we need to know with him.
D/ST – Now that the Bills are out of terrible elements, I’ll pass here as well. Allen has only been sacked 19 times and the Bucs are tied for the fourth-most sacks on the season. Still, this is not a good matchup and there are better paths to take.
Cash – Brady, Godwin, Gronk
GPP – Evans, Fournette
Saquon Barkley, Austin Ekeler, Josh Jacobs, Taysom Hill
CeeDee Lamb, Josh Palmer, Travis Kelce, Mike Evans
It can be done and I am making an exception. If you’d like to play a second punt-style play with Palmer this week, I would sign off on that.Palmer is not the typical punt with the role open in the Chargers offense.
Bills/Bucs – Anyone in these passing games are playable, and Fournette would be the only back that I would play.
Raiders/Chiefs – Mahomes, Kelce, Hill, CEH – Run Backs – Jacobs, Renfrow, Carr
Cowboys/Washington – Dak, Lamb, Cooper, Schultz, Gallup – Run Backs – McLaurin, Gibson, Seals-Jones, Heinicke
Giants/Chargers – Herbert, Ekeler, Palmer, Williams, Guyton – Run Backs – Saquon
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