Merry Christmas! Happy Hanukkah! Happy whatever holiday it is you celebrate! The NFL’s gift to us this holiday season is to spread out their slate as much as possible. There are 12 games on Christmas Eve (for the 12 days of Christmas?), so I will be focusing on that slate. There is a lot to get to and I am late for work, so let’s get right to it.
For you FanDuel players, don’t forget to check out Eric’s Plays and Stay Aways.
If you have any questions – don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter at @AssemblyNeil.
Matt Ryan vs. Panthers ($7,200) – In week 4, I didn’t play Ryan or Julio Jones in any lineups and I certainly paid for it. Matty Ice went for 503 yards and 4 touchdowns against Carolina that week. The Panthers remain 22nd in yards per pass attempt allowed and I like for Ryan to have a very nice game. I should note that this is an excellent week for the top priced passers as I also like Tom Brady, Andrew Luck, David Carr and Drew Brees for big games. If there is any week to pay up at QB (and diversify if you play multiple lineups), this is it.
Bang for Your Buck
Jameis Winston vs. Saints ($6,500) – The Saints have actually been playing better defense recently, and Winston did not have a great game against them in Tampa a couple of weeks back. That having been said, any game with the Saints in the Superdome has shootout potential and this one is no different. The Bucs have an implied team total of 25 points and I expect that they will need to air it out to keep up with New Orleans. Winston can be a good mid-priced source for points.
Tom Savage vs. Bengals ($5,000) – I am actually not as high on Savage as many others as I thought he looked somewhat average against the Jaguars. Average, however, is much better than what Brock Osweiler was giving the Texans this year. Savage is min-priced, Lamar Miller is hobbled and the Texans need to win this game. He should give you great value for the minimum price against the Bengals who are ranked 18th in Football Outsiders’ defensive efficiency rating against the pass.
LeSean McCoy vs. Dolphins ($9,000) – McCoy is having a monster year and has only been getting better as the season has rolled along. He has 6 touchdowns in his last 5 games and 100+ rushing yards in 3 of his last 4 games. Against the Dolphins who are ranked 30th in yards per carry allowed, you can bet that McCoy has another great game in store.
Jordan Howard vs. Redskins ($6,300) – The Redskins have a surprisingly bad rush defense ranking 26th in DVOA and 28th in rush yards per attempt allowed. Howard should take advantage as he has 99+ total yards in his last 7 games and 4 touchdowns in his last 3 outings. I like him for 125+ yards and a touchdown this week.
Bang for your Buck
Jay Ajayi vs. Bills ($5,600) – In his last outing against the Bills, Ajayi ran for 214 yards and a touchdown. That is not a fluke, as many other running backs have had monster outings against Buffalo (see Bell, LeVeon). In fact, the Bills rank 31st in rush defense DVOA, ahead of only the Browns, who are barely a football team. Ajayi is not too expensive and could pay off in a big way.
Jonathan Stewart vs. Falcons ($5,200) – I love Stewart’s price this week against the Falcons who are 28th in DVOA against the run and 23rd in yards allowed per carry. Stewart has 100+ rushing yards or a touchdown in 4 of his last 5 games. I like him for both 100 yards and a touchdown this week.
Frank Gore vs. Raiders ($4,800) – The Raiders have quietly struggled against the run this year, ranking 29th in yards per carry allowed. We all know that Gore will have the opportunity to take advantage of that stat as he has had double-digit touches every game this year and double-digit DraftKings points in 11 of 14 games. Gore should be a staple in cash lineups this week.
Ronnie Hillman vs. Browns ($3,400) – WARNING! GPP PLAY ONLY! The Browns are the worst rushing defense in the NFL ranking 32 in DVOA and 31st in yards per carry allowed. And Hillman may get an opportunity to shine as Melvin Gordon could be out again this week and Kenneth Farrow did not look good as the lead back in San Diego last week. If Hillman gets 15+ touches, he could win you a GPP this week. Hopefully he gets a long look because I will have him in several lineups.
Julio Jones vs. Panthers ($8,100) – This is the cheapest that Jones has been all year and it is against a team that he torched in their last match-up for 12 catches 300 yards and a touchdown for 50+ DraftKings points. Will he duplicate? Probably not. But I would take 10 catches for 120 yards and a score, which is certainly well within range.
TY Hilton vs. Raiders ($7,800) – I have probably faded Hilton way more than I should have this year as he is 3rd in receiving yards, 7th in targets and 9th in receptions. I will not make that mistake this week against the Raiders who rank 29th in passing yards per attempt allowed and 31st in DVOA over the middle of the field, where Hilton likes to roam. I think this will be a huge game.
Julian Edelman vs. Jets ($6,900) – Say what you want about the Jets, but they are certainly a hard team to run against. The Patriots know this well and will almost assuredly attack the Jets with their precision short passing game. Edelman has 11+ targets in his last 5 games, and with Brady probably throwing the ball 45+ times this week, I like for that trend to continue. He has one of the highest floors at wide receiver and is an excellent cash game play.
Bang for your Buck
Michael Crabtree vs. Colts ($6,100) – The Colts are not a very good passing defense as they rank 27th in DVOA versus the pass. Crabtree has quietly become the Raiders go-to receiver with 7+ targets in his last 5 games and he has made that volume pay off with 18+ DraftKings points in 3 of his last 4 games.
DeSean Jackson vs. Bears ($5,500) – This is one of my favorite plays of the week. The Bears struggle against the deep ball ranking 27th in DVOA against long passes. And the Jackson/Cousins deep ball combination has been clicking recently as DeSean has 100+ receiving yards in 3 of his last 4 games and touchdowns in 3 of his last 5 games. Jackson could be in store for a monster game.
DeAndre Hopkins vs. Bengals ($5,200) – If you are playing GPPs and looking for a way to differentiate your lineup, this is not the way to go as I expect Hopkins’ ownership to be above 30% (40%+ would not surprise me either). There is, of course, a reason for the Hopkins love. After the Texans switched quarterbacks, Tom Savage fed Hopkins the ball to the tune of 17 targets, his high water mark for the year. And Hopkins responded with 87 receiving yards, his 2nd highest output. He is an elite receiver and should be seeing heavy volume again and is a solid play.
Robby Anderson vs. Patriots ($4,800) – Anderson has 6+ targets, 60+ yards, 16+ DraftKings points and a 40 yard reception in each of the last 3 games where Bryce Petty has played significant snaps. He also has touchdowns in 2 of those 3 games. I expect Anderson to see the rock a lot and I expect there to be plenty of garbage time opportunity for him to pile up numbers.
Marqise Lee vs. Titans ($4,300) – Lee has 100+ receiving yards or a touchdown in 4 of his last 5 games and he faces the Titans defense who has allowed the 3rd most passing yards per game. I keep getting burned by Allen Robinson, so I figured I would try a different Jaguars receiver. Let’s see how this goes!
Deonte Thompson vs. Redskins ($3,500) – At this very low price, I love a receiver who has had 9+ targets and 15+ DraftKings points in 2 of his last 4 games. Thompson has 110 receiving yards last week, even with Alshon Jeffery back in the lineup. At this low price, I will pay to see if he can duplicate his big game.
Kyle Rudolph vs. Packers ($4,900) – Rudolph has been seeing the ball a ton with 8+ targets in his last 4 games and double digit targets in 3 of those outings. He scored a touchdown against the Packers earlier this season and his last 100+ yard game was against the Packers in week 10 of last year. And let’s be honest – this game is being played on Christmas Eve. I had to have Rudolph the Red Nosed Tight End in my lineup. Right? Right? Anyone?
Bang for your Buck
Delanie Walker vs. Jaguars ($4,300) – Much like Travis Kelce a few weeks back, Walker’s price has dropped too much for such an integral part of his team’s offense. He is a lock for 6+ targets, having reached that benchmark in 5 of his last 6 games. And the Jags have been struggling against the tight end recently, including allowing a career high 85 receiving yards to Ryan Griffin last week (who I recommended at minimum price – you’re welcome!). I like Walker for a nice game.
Vernon Davis vs. Bears ($3,000) – Jordan Reed will either be extremely limited or out which opens up a great opportunity for Davis this week. The Bears rank a dismal 28th in DVOA against the tight end and Davis has 6+ targets in 3 of his last 4 games. I like him for a big performance this week.
Bang for your buck
Patriots vs. Jets ($3,600) – The Patriots defense is now 1st in points allowed on the season and has started to generate turnovers as well. That is a recipe for a big game against the sleepwalking Jets.
Chargers vs. Browns ($3,400) – The Browns are just awful. This is a safe place for some good defensive points. I would not think twice about it.
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