Welcome to Week 14 of the NFL! Last week’s article got a nice reaction (thanks to all who reached out) so I will continue with the “high, medium, low” column. That means we go position by position to break down different salary ranges, providing you flexibility in your lineups.
What are you going to do with Marcus Mariota? He’s been a fantasy stud this season and now quarterback has scored more fantasy points in the L4 weeks (24.25 DraftKings points). His ability to beat you through the air or on the ground is staggering and he’s scored 21+ DraftKings points in six of eight and he’s never scored fewer than 17.6 DK points in that span. So what’s the concern? Well, his matchup with Denver is absolutely dismal. They’ve allowed the fewest fantasy points to opposing QBs this season. The plus side is that the Denver D hasn’t been as nasty in the last three weeks, allowing an average of 15.3 DK points (which would still be a top ten defense). Also, the Titans are coming off a bye, so they should be well-prepared for this game. In fact, Vegas likes them as a one point favorite.
Kirk Cousins and the Philadelphia Eagles could not be trending in more opposite of directions. Cousins has been awesome for the Redskins and only Aaron Rodgers, Marcus Mariota and Andrew Luck have scored more DraftKings points in the last four weeks. He’s tallied multiple touchdowns in seven straight games and has only thrown for less than 260 yards ONCE this season. The Eagles, after a torrid start, have fallen flat on their faces. Through Week 7, the Eagles allowed just 10.8 DraftKings PPG to opposing QBs, the best mark in the league. Since then, that number has rocketed to 21.9 DK PPG, the 5th most in the league.
The Bills defense has been eerily similar to the Eagles defense in terms of DraftKings points allowed. In the same time spans, the Bills have gone from allowing 12.3 DK PPG (first seven weeks) to 22.7 DK PPG (since week 8). That would bode well for Ben Roethlisberger and the Pittsburgh offense this week. Big Ben has shown his potency, scoring 25+ DraftKings points in four of eleven contests this season. He’s struggled recently but this is the third lowest salary tag he’s had all season, making him an interesting buy low candidate.
Speaking of that Steelers offense, how good is Le’Veon Bell? Let me tell you, he’s REALLY GOOD. Here’s an awesome stat from our buddy Adam Pfeifer:
Wrap your head around that. Antonio Brown, one of the (if not the) best wide receiver in the league only has one more reception that Le’Veon Bell since Bell returned to the field. All those PPR points are just piling up PLUS this guy gets a ton of carries! Bell has carried the ball 28, 23 and 29 times in the last three weeks. When you add in his receptions, he’s averaging 32.6 touches per game in that span. It’s a killer combination to have a guy with that much skill and that much opportunity.
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If you want to ride the matchup only, the San Francisco 49ers are swiss cheese in run defense. I think most people realize that the Niners are bad against the run, but they don’t realize HOW bad they are. San Fran is allowing 27.5 DraftKings PPG to opposing RBs, which is 50% (!!) more than the league average (18.0). It gets worse for the Niners if you throw out the first two games of the season. From Week 3 to the present, they have actually allowed MORE points to RBs, to the tune of 30.9 DK PPG. All of this would lead towards firing up Matt Forte. The NYJ running back is very dependent on game flow which has bit him in the butt recently. When the Jets trail in games, they abandon the run very quickly. Luckily for Forte, Vegas thinks this is going to be a close game and Forte has thrived in this situation. In seven games where the Jets have been one point underdogs or better, Forte is averaging 20.2 DraftKings PPG. In the five games where the Jets have been bigger dogs (all three points or more), Forte averages just 8.86 DrafKings points. Vegas has New York as just a one point underdog in this game, so hopefully we see the “Good Forte”.
Lamar Miller is really interesting at his price. It’s been a down year for Miller but I am not sure that’s all his fault. He started the year running well, but couldn’t find the endzone to save his life. I’m willing to cut him some slack there since touchdowns are fairly random. Unfortunately in the last month, he’s laid three eggs which isn’t building any confidence with his owners. The good news is that he’s the cheapest he’s been all season long in this date with Indy. In Week 6 against the Colts, Miller broke off 149 yards and found the endzone twice, earning 35.8 DraftKings points. That was his best fantasy game of the season.
It’s your pick of all the WR studs at the top of the slate. There’s Mike Evans, Julio Jones and the man I am partial to… Odell Beckham Jr. Since Week 6, ODB is averaging 22.9 DraftKings PPG and has only scored fewer than 20 DK points in two of those games. He’s an absolute machine who gets a suspicious price decrease against the defense that allows the third most fantasy points to opposing WRs. This is arguably the hottest ODB has been all season, yet this is his lowest price tag of the year. Beckham has also thrived at home, averaging 23.1 DK PPG compared to just 15.6 DK PPG on the road.
Don’t forget about Jordy Nelson this week who has hauled in ten TDs and doesn’t look to be slowing down any time soon. He’s earned double-digit targets in four of five which has translated into big time fantasy points for his owners. Over the last four weeks, Nelson is averaging 22.8 DraftKings points per game, which is the second most in the league (Antonio Brown). The matchup with Seattle might scare off some owners, but it’s not as bad as it might appear. Since Seattle’s BYE week, they are allowing 23.5 DraftKings PPG to opposing WRs, which would make them an average defense in that respect.
In terms of value, it’s about Jamison Crowder. We’ve talked about the success of Kirk Cousins and Crowder has been one of the biggest beneficiaries. In terms of DraftKings points, Crowder has reached double-digits in all but one game this season. Since Week 7, Crowder has tallied at least 80 yards OR a touchdown in every single game. Finally and maybe more surprising, Crowder is 7th in the NFL in red zone targets.
Jameis Winston has been impressive this season and Cameron Brate has been forming an excellent connection with his QB. Brate has caught a touchdown in four of his last six games and has only seen less than five targets in one game during that stretch. Brate has thrived at home, scoring 15 DK PPG in Tampa, while only scoring 7.6 DK PPG on the road. The positional matchup with New Orleans is average, but Vegas has posted a 51 point total on this game, the highest of the week.
In the last five weeks, Zach Ertz has scored 11+ DraftKings points on four occasions. With only two touchdown catches in that span, there might be some room for improvement there. Ertz has earned a whopping 32 targets in the last three weeks so his stock is certainly trending upwards. The Redskins are a bottom ten defense against TEs and this game has a healthy 47 point total so there should be plenty of points for both teams.
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