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Week 14 NFL DFS Thursday Night Showdown Preview: Patriots at Rams

The NFL DFS season continues with this week’s Thursday night showdown, and we’re helping you win big money in the first Week 14 NFL DFS contests!

Introduction to Single-Game Showdowns

DraftKings calls them “Showdowns,” and FanDuel doesn’t really have a name for them other than “Single-Game Contests,” but whatever we call them they require an understanding of game narratives and game theory – which means we need to target low-ownership players that will give us the best opportunities within the narratives and game outcomes we’re expecting.

My picks will focus almost exclusively on finding GPP-winning combinations that have a chance at taking down the contests you’re entering, be they single-entry or MME. While we can’t cover all the possible combos or provide full lineups for you to deploy, the goal here is to give you the tools to win and highlight some names that will help make for profitable results.

If I enter five lineups in a large-field GPP, at least three of those lineups will focus on the most likely game outcome (based on Vegas odds, props and totals), with one or two contrarian builds. As we know, late-breaking news can have a significant effect on full slates, and that’s just amplified with single-game contests. If you have any questions leading up to lock, please consult our NFL DFS experts in Discord.

Let’s get to the game!

Week 14 NFL DFS MVP candidates (1.5x points)

Some notes on the differences between MVP on FanDuel and DraftKings: The 1.5x point boost on FD comes with no salary penalty, while and DK also bumps the salary to 1.5x – a crucial factor in deciding who we can and cannot afford on both sites. We can use this to our advantage on FD by occasionally targeting non-QBs to establish more variance and more unique lineups, and on DK it allows us to build more hearty overall stacks when we punt the MVP position with a cheap but high-upside player.

Chalk: Jared Goff (DK $16,500, FD $15,500)

Pivot: Cam Newton (DK $15,900, FD $16,000)

Contrarian #1: Damien Harris (DK $13,200, FD $12,000)

Contrarian #2: Cooper Kupp (DK $14,400, FD $13,000)

DK Punts: Van Jefferson ($3,900), Malcolm Brown ($3,600) and Damiere Byrd ($1,200)

DK Contrarian Punts: Patriots DST ($6,300) and Sony Michel ($4,800)

This contest sports one of the lower projected game totals of the Week 14 slate, with the Rams the betting favorite at -240 and 24.75 projected points.

The chalk is leaning toward Jared Goff and away from Cam Newton, who is questionable with an abdomen injury that he played through last week en route to a 45-0 drubbing of the Chargers. His practice snaps have been capped in consecutive weeks because of the injury, but he’s fully expected to play on Thursday night.

Both teams are expected to lean more heavily on their running games this week as both pass defenses have been stifling over the past few weeks. The Rams DST is certainly an option for builds, but the opportunistic Patriots DST strikes me as a possible contrarian play up top, as we’ve seen the Rams QB get a little kooky and turn the ball over in the past.

Top corners from both teams (Stephen Gilmore for the Pats and Jalen Ramsey for the Rams) could impact the effectiveness of the opposing passing game, but Ramsey is unlikely to match up exclusively against one of the Pats WRs – since they don’t have a true No. 1. Gilmore will likely be on Robert Woods, since Cooper Kupp lines up in the slot quite a bit. Ownership will end up being pretty close for these two, with a slight recency bias going to Woods (double-digit target consistency over the past three games) – so Kupp might end up being the better value.

Playing both Kupp and Woods together with Goff doesn’t seem like a viable option, though I wouldn’t scold you for crafting one 1/10 GPP lineups that way. For the Pats, I’m most interested in Jakobi Meyers because of his PPR strengths, though he’s made just 15 catches over the past four games since his 12-reception party against the Jets. But the price on Damiere Byrd is obnoxiously low for some reason, and he’ll be in a few of my builds for sure.

As for the running game, we’ve got healthy committees for both teams that complicate the touch distribution, with Cam Akers heading the Rams backfield and Damien Harris leading the charge for the Patriots pounding style. Sophomore talent Darrell Henderson, Jr. is a sneaky play if you’re fading Akers, and there’s always the possibility that capable veteran Malcom Brown gets a few goal line carries and in crunch time. Brown is super cheap on DK and could be worth using in the CPT role if you want to stack the high-upside position players.

The Patriots usually just play the hot hand at RB, but Harris should begin s the early down pounder while James White fills in on third down and obvious passing situations. Sony Michel is finally healthy, so Bill Belichick could throw a monkey wrench into the mix by tapping him for a few additional carries or giving him a lead role if Harris fumbles. Coach is not a big fan of fumbles.

Tight ends won’t likely play a big role between the 20s, but we could see either Rams TE notch some red zone targets and sneak in for a TD. But both Tyler Higbee and Gerald Everett would be final lineup construction pieces for me rather than core builds.

Week 11 NFL DFS Utility options (and some DOs and DON’Ts)

Remember to build your team based on a narrative that makes sense, and utilize the WinDaily fantasy toolbox for cheatsheets and projections that can help you tremendously with lineup building.

DO: Build a trio (or quartet) of offensive weapons for a team that makes sense together.

DON’T: Feel confined to a classic narrative this week. Kickers and DSTs are again in play with some of the true defensive playmakers on these teams and both QBs are turnover prone.

DO: Make Damien Harris a big part of your builds. It could blow up if the Rams really make a point of stopping him, but I don’t see Belichick getting away from what has worked for them.

DON’T: Expect a high-scoring game. Both coaches have engineered these teams to win battles, but neither is especially interested in getting into a shootout.

Now that we’ve established some narratives and MVP candidates, the best way to round out this piece is with a list of my favorite options in descending order, based on overall value (a combo of salary and projected points):

  1. Damien Harris
  2. Jared Goff
  3. Cam Newton (questionable)
  4. Cooper Kupp
  5. Robert Woods
  6. Patriots DST
  7. James White
  8. Cam Akers
  9. Jakobi Meyers
  10. Darrell Henderson, Jr.
  11. Rams DST
  12. Nick Folk
  13. Josh Reynolds
  14. Malcolm Brown
  15. Tyler Higbee
  16. Gerald Everett
  17. Damiere Byrd
  18. N’Keal Harry
  19. Sony Michel
  20. Rams K (Matt Gay OR Austin MacGinnis)
  21. Ryan Izzo
  22. Van Jefferson
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