DraftKings Plays - Week 14
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: Drew Brees ($9,100) vs Carolina Panthers (49.5)
Over the last two weeks Brees is fantasy’s highest-scoring quarterback and, coincidentally or not, it aligns with Brandin Cooks’ season-ending injury. The Panthers have the 26th-graded pass coverage unit (-32.6) and last year when they met in the dome, Brees threw for 313-yards and four touchdowns. The Saints are favored by 9.5-points and have the second-highest projected team total (29.5), making Brees a safe quarterback to pay up for. He also comes at a slight discount to a few other elite passers.
RB: C.J. Anderson ($7,600) vs Denver Broncos (47.5)
Anderson is the best running back in fantasy since taking the starting role. He’s seen the third-most targets (21) and the second-most carries (81) – which he’s converted into 5.6 yards-per-attempt. He’s posted the second-most missed tackles per touch (0.33), third-best Elusive Rating (93.0), and the fifth-best Breakaway Percentage (37.9). Denver has the third-highest projected team total (28.5) and will likely be salting away a lead. At well over a $1000 discount on the top few backs, Anderson remains a value play.
RB: Joique Bell ($5,500) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41.5)
Despite the low over/under, Detroit still has a top-10 projected team total (25.5) and will almost certainly be pounding on Tampa’s 31st-ranked run defense (-40.1) for most of the second half. Reggie Bush’s return won’t appreciably dent Bell’s workload, as he’ll essentially retake the passing downs role from Theo Riddick. Even if Bell sees less work while the game is (briefly) competitive, Bush won’t be used as a fourth quarter hammer. Bell also has 10 carries from inside the five yard line, to Bush’s zero.
WR: Randall Cobb ($7,400) vs Atlanta Falcons (56)
The Packers are projected to score over 34 points on Monday night, so there will be plenty to go around. Atlanta’s saddled with the 29th-graded pass rush (-17.1) and 28th-ranked coverage unit (-39.4). Despite not scoring since Week 10, which has helped push his price to 12th among wideouts, Cobb’s been targeted 9.6 times per game over that time. He’s tied with Jordy Nelson as the 16th-best PPR wideout during the last three weeks. Both should score against the Falcons, and Cobb is $700 cheaper.
WR: Jarvis Landry ($5,600) vs Baltimore Ravens (45.5)
Despite losing Haloti Ngata to suspension, the way to attack Baltimore remains through the air. Their run defense is deep and their secondary is decimated. Safety Matt Elam has been healthy all year and the Ravens probably wish he wasn’t. His -16.2 coverage grade would rank 117th if he were a cornerback, and he’ll be on Landry in the slot roughly 80-percent of the time. The rookie wideout has been Miami’s most-targeted player over the last month (34), during which time he’s been a mid-range PPR WR2 (17th).
WR: Stedman Bailey ($4,300) at Washington (44.5)
PFF’s second-best wideout over the last three weeks (+7.9), Bailey’s seen 15 looks during the last two games. Last week he was targeted on five of Shaun Hill’s first 10 non-running back throws before their game plan devolved into a blowout-grinding slog. He’s second only to Kenny Stills in yards-per-route-run over the last two weeks (3.62). Bailey lines up all over, but will primarily be matched up with pass-coverage abomination David Amerson – PFF’s 114th-graded cornerback (-15.9).
TE: Kyle Rudolph ($3,300) vs New York Jets (40)
He played 92-percent of snaps in Week 13, but the Vikings only ran 48 plays in a game that quickly got out of hand. He was targeted on three of Teddy Bridgewater’s first six throws, including a touchdown. Then it was 21-3, and Minnesota attempted just 10 more passes to non-running backs. He’s run 63 routes in the last two games and will face a Jets defense that allows the third-most fantasy points to tight ends. With the 14th-most expensive salary at his position, he’s an attractive punt with top-8 upside.
FLEX: Jonathan Stewart ($3,800) at New Orleans Saints (49.5)
With the Panthers backfield to himself, Stewart should pay off against a Saints defense that allows the fourth-most points to running backs. He ranks first in Elusive Rating among backs with at least 25-percent of rushing attempts, and has forced 0.36 missed-tackles-per-touch (1st). The Panthers will pound Stewart in an attempt to stay competitive, and if they fall behind he’ll remain involved (23 pass targets). He’s also an affordable hedge on using Brees at quarterback, in the unlikely event Carolina controls the entire game.
DEF: Detroit Lions ($3,400) vs Tampa Bay Buccaneers (41.5)
The well-rested Lions are 9.5-point home favorites against a Bucs rushing offense that’s 29th in yards, 28th in touchdowns, and 26th in yards-per-carry. Detroit’s run defense grades second overall (+55.3). With Tampa Bay forced to throw, Josh McCown will be a turnover machine. His seven interceptions while under pressure are tied for the league-lead and he’s only started seven games. The Lions’ pass rush ranks eighth (+27.2) and the Bucs have the second-worst graded pass blocking (-54.2).
Total Salary: $50,000
The Gronk Plan
If you want Rob Gronkowski – and you probably do since men want to be him, and women want to be with him – here’s the pivot:
Cut Rudolph for Gronkowski ($8,000) at San Diego Chargers (51)
This markedly raises your floor and ceiling. Gronk hasn’t scored a touchdown in two weeks and is still the second-best PPR tight end over that time. To this point San Diego hasn’t surrendered many points to his position, but …Gronk.
Cut Anderson for Tre Mason ($6,700) at Washington (44.5)
This makes two Rams, which isn’t ideal in cash games. However he’s got a fine matchup despite Washington’s reputation against the run. PFF grades them 30th (-30.6), and it’s simply been easier to attack their pass coverage. Boom Herron gained 88-yards on eight carries. Mason will be fine.
Cut Randall Cobb for Charles Johnson ($4,300) vs New York Jets (40)
Johnson does have upside against a Jets pass defense that, to be kind, sorta sucks. But his ceiling is clearly lower than Cobb’s. From a point-per-dollar standpoint things are closer – especially if Johnson is targeted at the same rate he’s been while recent Vikings games have been competitive.
Cut Detroit Lions for Denver Broncos ($2,700) vs Buffalo Bills (47.5)
The Broncos defense has a high floor, as Kyle Orton will turn it over and the Bills aren’t a threat to score much (19 projected points). But they’re a conservative offense and it’s unlikely that Denver will make as many big plays against them as Detroit will against McCown and the Bucs.
Lamar Miller’s snap percentage has risen from 18, to 51, to 65, and finally to 78 in Week 13. He’s healthy and his workload is increasing. Ngata’s injury weakens the Ravens’ front-seven, athough they’re still formidable. His $4,500 salary is a bargain and affords lineup flexibility elsewhere.
Keep an eye on Isaiah Crowell’s injury status leading up to Sunday’s kickoff. A 50-point over/under, with just a 3.5-point spread, hints at a wide open game – especially if Vontae Davis can’t suit up. With Terrance West in the doghouse, Crowell could have a blow-up game against the Colts exploitable run defense.
Nobody is speaking up for Bishop Sankey these days, but that opens a window when paired with his dirt-cheap $4000 salary. Their offensive line is a mess and Sankey’s snap percentage is moving in the wrong direction. But Tennessee’s receiver situation is a hot mess and the Giants run defense is a sieve.
Some juicy matchups for wideouts include:
Odell Beckham Jr. vs Jason McCourty – McCourty’s escaped criticism because Blidi Wreh-Wilson is abysmal. But his -2.3 coverage grade ranks 68th and he’s a plus-matchup. Beckham is often compared to Antonio Brown, who recently caught six of seven targets, for 60 yards and a score, while in McCourty’s coverage.
Brandon LaFell vs Shareece Wright – Targeting Wright with Torrey Smith worked swimmingly, so let’s go back to the well. The game has the second-highest over/under, and LaFell is a huge part of New England’s passing game. Since September he quietly leads the team in red zone targets and is the PPR WR15.
Mohamed Sanu vs William Gay – Last week Gay was beaten like a red-headed mule by four different Saints, for 113 yards and a touchdown on six catches. He took over slot duties for Brice McCain, so even if he’s benched, the inexpensive Sanu will still match up against a small, beatable corner.
Jimmy Graham wasn’t considered for cash games because I’m an idiot, but also because I don’t buy that he was simply shut down by the Steelers’ scheme. His snap percentage was its lowest since the first game after he initially hurt his shoulder in Week 5 – the last time he ran fewer routes than he did against the Steelers. Since he aggravated the injury in Week 11, he’s been asked to run block less than half as often as during his healthy weeks.
The narrative claims that Pittsburgh undercutting routes and devoting extra attention to him freed others to have big games. If that were true, why did Josh Hill have a season-high snap percentage, and the ghost of Ben Watson play more than the guy who was supposedly drawing so much attention it was ruining the Steelers’ defense?
That said I’ll have some exposure to Graham in GPPs – to cover myself if I’m wrong and because he tends to skewer the Panthers. But despite the $1,500 discount on Gronkowski, I’d still rather pay up for the surer thing in cash games or punt entirely.
Ryan Tannehill (9.70) – The odd game-flow, two dropped passes, and only 13 rushing yards didn’t help – but excuses are like… never mind.
Le’Veon Bell (42.40) – Just what you want from your anchor running back. Also, “Bell-cow back” would’ve been cheesy.
Tre Mason (40.40) – Luckily the Rams didn’t use him up before they fell out of playoff contention.
Julian Edelman (11.80) – Hobbled for a good portion of the game, he still saw seven targets with the Patriots only running 54 plays.
Kenny Stills (30.29) – Touted in part for running possession routes (8.8 aDOT since Week 9), his five targets averaged 23.8-yards downfield. Whatever…
Charles Johnson (6.10) – Targeted on three of Bridgewater’s first eight throws, he wound up a victim of game flow. The 17.5 aDOT stands out however.
Jimmy Graham (0.00) – Third on the tight end target list for the week isn’t bad. Third on the Saints tight end target list sucks.
Isaiah Crowell (5.40) – His yards-per-attempt (1.7) and Hoyer’s passes finally broke Kyle Orton’s stranglehold on the Ugliest Thing in Buffalo award.
Houston Texans (12.00) – When in doubt, bet against Mett.
Total Points Scored – 158.00
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