Welcome back for Week 14. There are a lot of options this week, so I’ll do my best to help narrow down the player pool. I think there are some obvious plays this week based on whether your are a cash or tournament player. I’ll try to point out those I see fit for each below, but as always, I’m going to just mention what are, in my personal opinion, the best overall plays.
The guy I think I am most likely to play this week is Kirk Cousins ($7,600). There are a few reasons I’m most interested in Cousins. First off, his price is relatively cheap when compared to the guys above him. The second reason is because he’s been an elite fantasy QB for the better part of the season. He has one game with less than 17.84 FanDuel points in his last 11 games, and that came against the number one ranked defense (according to FanDuel). He also has three games over 25 fantasy points in his last five.
The last point I’ll make is that the Philadelphia Eagles defense has been atrocious over the the past few weeks. Here are the FanDuel points they’ve given up to opposing quarterbacks, starting with the most recent:
- Andy Dalton – 22.18
- Aaron Rodgers – 23.12
- Russell Wilson – 24.78
- Matt Ryan – 13.68
- Eli Manning – 23.88
- Dak Prescott – 28.28
Throw out the game by Ryan, and that’s a pretty impressive stretch of games by opposing QB’s. I think Cousins is a lock for 300 yards passing this week and should have 2-3 touchdowns. I’ll dig in below to decide who we should pair him with, if anyone.
Phillip Rivers ($8,000) has been very consistent in recent weeks and has a great matchup against the Carolina Panthers who will let anyone throw the ball on them. I would reserve Rivers more for cash, as he hasn’t had a very high ceiling over the past six weeks.
Lastly, I can’t find anything bad to say about Andrew Luck ($8,200) other than he’ll be very popular. He would be a guy I might end up on by Sunday if I get the sense that he’s not going to be as highly owned as he should be.
We all know where it starts: David Johnson ($9,700) and LeVeon Bell ($9,000). The main question is, can we afford them together? At first glance, I thought no, because the $9,700 price tag on Johnson scared me a bit. But last week these two cost us $18,500 combined, so we only have to pay $200 more, which is chump change. If I get the sense that others believe this is too expensive and go a different route, I think I’ll just lock them both in. You just are not guaranteed such a safe floor with so much upside with anyone else at any position. You’re getting a receiver who’s guaranteed to get 8-10 targets and an elite running back in one player from both of these guys.
The third guy that I’m highly considering and currently have in my main lineup is DeMarco Murray ($7,900). Most people will see the Murray’s matchup against the Denver Broncos and not give him second thought. However, we know that the Broncos are weak against the run and to pass catching backs. A team like the Titans are built to exploit that weakness and it sets up perfectly after their bye week. Murray will be well rested, and if this one stays close he could get 25-30 carries and 5-7 targets. At nearly a $2,000 savings from Johnson, this could be a sharp play.
I’m not going to talk you out of playing Ezekiel Elliot ($8,500) or LeSean McCoy ($8,300). They’re elite backs and you could pair the two for $1,700 less than Johnson and Bell. As of right now, I don’t think I’m going to end up on them, but they’re definitely not bad plays. As always I’ll update you on Sunday via twitter if that changes.
Wide receiver is weird for me this week. I’m looking hard at all of the top six highest priced guys, except for Julio Jones, who seems to be banged up, so I’ll stay away. Because I like them all, let me tell you who I like the most.
Odell Beckham Jr. ($8,500) is priced down a little this week and is getting an insane amount of targets. It’s a primetime matchup and OBJ seems to thrive in these kinds of games. This just seems like it could set up for one of his 100+ yard, two touchdown games.
The guy I like next most is TY Hilton ($7,600). He’s hard to fit in with OBJ and two stud running backs, but I may end up rolling with him as my highest priced receiver. He has a great matchup, and his chemistry with Andrew Luck rivals any QB/WR chemistry in the league. He should should see 10+ targets, have a great shot at over 100 yards, and hopefully find the end zone too.
Since I’m going to spend money at running back, I’m looking at some guys who are cheaper but should see plenty of targets. Jamison Crowder ($6,400) fits that mold and he’s priced lower than I think he should be. He’s an excellent cash game play and the most consistent option for Cousins. Crowder has double digit FanDuel points in 10 of his last 12 games.
You could take a tournament flyer on DeSean Jackson ($5,800) if you’re playing Cousins. They Eagles get beat on the outside and he’s going to do everything he can to perform well against his old team. Everything I look at points to Jackson having a huge weak; he’s just not a guy I typically roster. However, the upside is there this week for a monster game. In tournaments (which is mainly what I play), I think I’m going to just click the green plus next to his game and hold my breath until he gives me at least one big play.
Probably my favorite value play of the week is Emmanuel Sanders ($5,900). Sanders has seen no fewer than nine targets over the past five weeks, but somehow that consistency has him underpriced. He let some people down last week after a huge game in Week 12, but he was going up against one of the league’s better pass defenses and had Paxton Lynch throwing him the ball. With Trevor Semian looking like he’s on track this week, Sanders will probably be in my lineup in a very juicy matchup versus the Titans.
As we start to scrape the bottom of the barrel, there are a couple guys that I’m really considering, to the point that it looks certain that I will have one of the two in my lineup come Sunday.
The first is Robby Anderson ($4,700). Just know that you and I might be the only two people playing him this weekend if you do roster him. I watched the Jets get massacred in prime time on Monday night and I saw something that I also noticed earlier in the year. Bryce Petty (who will start the remainder of the Jets games this season), loves Anderson. He received 12 targets on Monday night and you would have hardly even known guys like Brandon Marshall or Quincy Enunwa were even on the field. 12 targets is good, right? What if I told you that all 12 targets came in the second half after Bryce Petty came in the game? That’s insane! Anderson also tied for the team lead in targets in the one other game that Petty started this year. Bottom line: Petty LOVES Anderson. I told myself watching that game that I would definitely play Anderson this week if Petty was going to start. Well here we are, and I’m trying to not get cold feet.
Ted Ginn Jr. ($4,700) is the other cheapy I’m looking at. He’s the only reason I haven’t locked Anderson in yet. Ginn is seeing a consistent share of targets and has scored 17.1, 20.8, and 13.4 FanDuel points the past three games, with touchdowns in every single game. He has a good matchup this week and all it takes is that one 40 yard touchdown and the rest is just icing on the cake.
Hopefully you jumped on the LaDarius Green ($5,800) train at minimum price last week after you read this article, as he had six catches on 11 targets for 110 yards and a touchdown. FanDuel raised his price this week, but he looks like the weapon the Steelers have been needing all year to give them a consistent third option in the pass game. I’m going to wait and see how popular I think he will be as the weekend goes along. This game sets up very well for his skill set as the Bills give up a lot of passes over 15 yards, while Ben Roethlisberger is one of the best this year at completing passes thrown over 15 yards downfield. Watching the Steelers game last week, Green seemed to get thrown the ball downfield a handful of times.
The guy I like most at tight end this week is Cameron Brate ($5,600). Brate is the second option in this offense now and most people are going to attack the Saints defense with Mike Evans. I don’t hate Evans, but Brate is much cheaper and will get his share of targets and is a huge target in the red zone, where he’s seen a lot of balls thrown his way. Unless I decide to switch to Green before Sunday, Brate will be in my lineup.
I shouldn’t have to keep telling you this by now, but any defense playing against Mr. Blake Bortles is THE BEST play – especially when that defense is the Minnesota Vikings ($4,800). They’ll be really chalky, and I may end up looking elsewhere just for that reason. But Bortles gives up pick 6’s like they are candy. The Vikings are probably a top three defense in the NFL this season, so it’s the perfect storm from both sides.
If I find myself $200 short of being able to afford the Vikings (which I have in a few roster constructions), then I’m fine with the Detroit Lions ($4,600). This defense is getting better as the year goes on. In a game where the Bears are expected to be playing from behind, Matt Barkley is bound the turn the ball over here with as many pass attempts as he projects to see. Barkley has thrown four interceptions and lost two fumbles in three games this year. That’s good for an average of one turnover per 15 pass attempts. He may be forced to throw 45 times in this game. You do the math. Lastly, the Lions have forced seven turnovers the past three games.
I keep creating a lineup where I only have $4,300 left over for my defense, so I’ve been digging in that range. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($4,100) are very sneaky this week. It is risky, but this team has been a good defense over the past four weeks, scoring in double digits three times, with two games at 19 and 24 FanDuel points. This play isn’t for the faint of heart, but the Lions provided a blueprint to slow down this offense last week and the Bucs play a very similar style. On top of that, we all know that Drew Brees is not the same QB on the road. One last thing to note. The Saints have played 12 games this year, and they have allowed opposing defenses to finish with top 10 FanDuel points in seven of those games. On the flip side of that, in the other five games, opposing defenses have scored between -3 to +2. Home and away hasn’t affected this much; the good and bad games are about equal in both splits. Ultimately, the Saints are either been really good or really bad for opposing fantasy defenses, and I’m hoping this will be one of the really good weeks (for the defense).
There are two kickers I’m looking at this week, starting with Dan Bailey ($4,700). One could argue Bailey is the best kicker in the league. He’s 21/23 on the year and is averaging just a hair under 10 FanDuel points per year at home (9.67).
If I absolutely need the $200 savings, I also like Robert Aguayo ($4,500). He’s a min priced kicker, at home, as a favorite, in the highest over under game of the weekend.
Week 14 Stay Aways
Due to what I mentioned above regarding the Buccaneers, it should be obvious I’m staying away from Drew Brees ($8,700). As mentioned above, Brees struggles away from home (and at home sometimes; see Week 13). He has been turning the ball over more, with six of his 11 interceptions coming in his past four games and a fumble lost in each of his last three games. He’s also been less than stellar in his last four games against the Bucs, averaging 304.75 yards, 1.5 touchdowns, and 1.75 interceptions.
I hope Matthew Stafford ($8,300) goes bananas every week since the Lions are my team. But after a big game (as expected) against the Saints in Week 13, his price is inflated on FanDuel as he finds himself as the second most expensive QB behind Brees. This week I think the Lions will be just fine controlling the clock and methodically marching up and down the field. This will continue to limit their number of plays and Stafford’s upside doesn’t match his price in this matchup. He has been one of the best real life quarterbacks in the NFL this year, but that hasn’t made him a consistent top fantasy performer because of the Lions game plan, and the fact that they’re actually winning games, instead of airing it out to come back from multiple scores like they have been forced to do so much in years past.
In that same game, I will be staying away from Jordan Howard ($7,800). If you saw my tweet before lock last week, I mentioned Howard was a guy I ended up on in my main lineup, despite not mentioning him here in my article. I apologize for that, as he ended up being one of the best plays of the week. However, I can say with confidence I won’t end up on him this week. The Lions defense has continued to get healthier each week and have limited opposing pass and run games. Over the last five games, they’ve given up an average of 233.6 pass yards and only 64.8 rush yards per game. In a game where the Lions are such big favorites, the Bears may be forced to air it out sooner rather than later, limiting Howard’s total touches.
Terrell Pryor Sr. ($6,700) initially stood out to me because of his low price, but I am staying WAY away from him now that we know Robert Griffin III will be back this week. There’s just too much unknown from a target distribution standpoint here.
JJ Nelson ($4,900) showed back up last week with a touchdown grab, but don’t let that fool you. His health issues, along with Carson Palmer’s inability to throw the ball outside of the numbers anymore, has lowered his ceiling and floor to within a very close range of each other, and that range is in the single digits.
Well, that’s it for this week. Be sure to follow me on twitter at @mrclutchdfs if you want to get any updates from me on which way I’m leaning on some of these plays once Sunday gets here.
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