DraftKings Plays - Week 13
The players in the cash games lineup are chosen primarily with strong salary value, significant projected touch volume, and favorable matchups that occur in games with a high Vegas over/under. While not every selection will meet each threshold, the quest for a high statistical floor will be a common theme.
Cash Games Lineup
QB: Ryan Tannehill ($6,900) at New York Jets (42)
Just twice since the post-Week 3 drama over his potential benching has Tannehill failed to attain weekly QB1 status. He ranks fifth in fantasy points-per-dropback during that time. He’ll face a faltering Jets defense that’s allowed the second-most points-per-snap on the year (0.45). They also allow the most fantasy points to passers. Tannehill will have Charles Clay back, to go with an emerging Jarvis Landry.
RB: Le’Veon Bell ($8,700) vs New Orleans Saints (54)
The Saints give up the ninth-most fantasy points to running backs despite allowing the 10th-fewest snaps. They just lost one of their few quality run defenders (Brodrick Bunkley), surrender the third-most yards-per-carry (4.6), have been creased for 384 yards on 60 attempts (6.4 YPA) the last two weeks, and allow over six more plays-per-game on the road. The Steelers average 17.3 more points at home and just gave Bell the largest workload of his pro career before their bye.
RB: Tre Mason ($4,600) vs. Oakland Raiders (42)
The Rams are nearly a touchdown favorite at home (-6.5), and Oakland will be without Latavius Murray. The Raiders have the 24th-ranked run defense (19.8), and Mason’s the RB17 while averaging 22.3 looks (carries plus targets) over the last four weeks. He even aced all 14 pass-blocking snaps over that span. Mason didn’t hit paydirt against the tough run defenses he faced during those games, but he should against Oakland.
WR: Julian Edelman ($6,200) at Green Bay Packers (58)
New England will attempt to pound on Green Bay’s 28th-ranked run defense (-25.9), but they’ll still need to throw to move the sticks. The Packers allow the sixth-lowest percentage of 15-plus-yard passes (7.8%), necessitating deliberate drives. Brandon LaFell and Shane Vereen are both nicked-up, and Edelman’s averaged 10.7 targets over the last three games. He’ll primarily see Tramon Williams, the only Packers cornerback with a negative coverage grade (-0.9).
WR: Kenny Stills ($4,800) at Pittsburgh Steelers (54)
In the first game without Brandin Cooks, Stills was targeted nine times – more than twice as often as Marques Colston (4). Both have strong Week 13 matchups and will see time in the slot against burn victim Brice McCain. Stills is running shorter routes than Colston recently (8.8 aDOT vs. 15.6, since Week 9), leading to a catch rate of 79-percent and an affordably bankable floor in this prospective shootout.
WR: Charles Johnson ($4,000) vs Carolina Panthers (42.5)
He’s essentially doubled his snap percentage in each of the last two weeks, from 27, to 53, and to 97-percent. He’s seen 17 targets in the last two games, is already is the Vikings highest-graded wideout, and they’re dealing with health issues at running back. Johnson will tangle with Antoine Cason, PFF’s 111th-graded cover corner (-13.5). Since he’s broken 50-percent of snaps, the athletic pass catcher has posted 2.24 yards per route run – a mark that would rank 16th for the season.
TE: Jimmy Graham ($7,100) at Pittsburgh Steelers (54)
Since recovering from a shoulder injury in Week 8, and excluding when he aggravated it early in a Week 11 game, Graham’s averaged 22.6 PPR points over a four game span. That’s some cherry picking, but the point is he’s killed it when healthy and he was a murderer last week. The matchup is right too, with the Steelers giving up the sixth-most points to tight ends – including touchdowns in four straight games.
FLEX: Isaiah Crowell ($4,600) at Buffalo Bills (40)
Buffalo’s run defense isn’t soft, but since Week 7 against the Vikings, they’re allowing a middling 15.8 standard fantasy points-per-game to running backs. Over the last two weeks, Crowell’s outperformed Terrance West and has seen more looks (30 vs. 20). Increased involvement for Crow, the recent talent infusion for Cleveland’s offense, and a still-affordable price make him prime value in a run-heavy wind-and-rain game.
DEF: Houston Texans ($3,100) vs Tennessee Titans (43)
The Titans give up the seventh-most points to fantasy defenses, their special teams are sub par, and they’re trotting out a raw passer who struggles with pressure. Behind a banged-up line, Zach Mettenberger was sacked five times while pressured on 47.7-percent of his Week 12 dropbacks. Houston’s pass rush ranks 10th, although their secondary is spotty. Like last week, the rookie and the defense that he faces can both meet value.
Total Salary: $50,000
Along with his health, Lamar Miller’s snaps have increased from 18, to 51, to 65-percent, and he’s averaged 5.4 rushing yards against quality run defenses in his last two games. That trend should continue with Miami (-4) favored over the white-flag-waving Jets, who have injuries to key run defenders. The 23rd-most expensive running back makes an intriguing GPP play since his opponent will ensure light ownership, and the Dolphins will likely be grinding out a win in the fourth quarter.
A healthier Fred Jackson got up to about half of the Bills snaps last week (49.3%), took 10 handoffs, and was targeted four times for the second straight game. The Browns defense has allowed big games to running backs, and their injury-riddled front seven will be without Karlos Dansby – a solid run stopper and strong coverage linebacker. Cleveland’s often up-tempo offense leads to increased snaps for opponents (fourth-most), partially offsetting workload concerns for Jackson.
Some juicy matchups for wideouts include:
Torrey Smith vs Shareece Wright – Since returning in Week 7 from a knee injury, Wright is the 99th-“best” graded cover corner (-7.2) despite playing several bad passing offenses. Since bottoming out with an awful Week 5 game (2 drops, targeted interception), Smith has a +4.1 grade (18th-best) and settled in as an upside-WR2.
Mike Wallace vs Phillip Adams – Adams might not play a full game, sadly, but during the four weeks he’s seen at least 35-percent of snaps he’s the 96th-graded cover corner. Anyone the Jets trot out will stink anyway. Wallace is a bargain as the 34th-priciest wideout despite his touchdown-reliant, back-end WR2 status.
Charles Johnson vs Antoine Cason – He’s in the cash lineup but warrants another mention for tournament play. Teddy Bridgewater has mostly dinked and dunked his way to an 8.5-yard aDOT (24th-deepest), but Johnson is emerging as the rookie’s downfield target of choice (18.1 aDOT). There’s some blowup potential this week.
On the other side of the field an equally intriguing, but potentially less exploitable matchup is on deck. Xavier Rhodes, a first-round pick in 2013, is PFF’s third-best cover corner over the last two games (+4.0). It’s more impressive that he was facing Alshon Jeffery (3 receptions on 4 targets for 24 yards and an interception), Jordy Nelson (2 of 5, for 18 yards and a pass defended), and Davante Adams (0 for 1).
Kelvin Benjamin has enjoyed a three-game run of bad cornerbacks since facing Seattle, but he’s in for a stiffer test this week. That could pump some value back into Greg Olsen off of the Panthers bye week. Although still a key cog in the Panthers offense, he’s been relatively quiet since Week 7 – and the Vikings are tough on tight ends.
That, along with recency bias, should mute Olsen’s ownership level. Travis Kelce and Coby Fleener will be the more attractive plays for owners who aren’t going with the Big Two tight ends. Considering that the player pool is thinned-out by six teams already having played, Olsen is a useful lineup differentiator.
Last Week’s Lineup
Colin Kapernick (14.64) – “Kap’s beard game is a testament to his decision making” – @LordReebs
DeMarco Murray (19.30) – Hit more than two-times value, but nine running backs wound up with fewer touches and more points.
LeSean McCoy (23.10) – Good thing he finally tipped his server, or we wouldn’t have found him a seat on Thanksgiving.
A.J. Green (27.10) – Absorbed a $1,300 price hike and still paid off more than three-fold the cost.
Sammy Watkins (6.50) – Seriously?
Percy Harvin (1.20) – Seriously.
Martellus Bennett (7.70) – More receiving targets and yards than any other Bear, but it didn’t amount to much.
Isaiah Crowell (20.80) – It’s finally time to eat for Crow.
Philadelphia Eagles (17.00) – If you squeaked out a win, you remember Philly bringing back Sunday’s first kickoff. If not, Harvin haunted your dreams on Monday night.
Total Points Scored – 137.34
Pat Thorman is a Lead Writer for PFF Fantasy and was named 2013 Newcomer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association. You can follow him on Twitter at @Pat_Thorman