Week 14 optimal DraftKings lineup: A Bengals double-dip
Last week’s optimal DraftKings linup was mostly disappointing. We hit big with a few players — including Jordan Howard, Malcolm Mitchell, Jimmy Graham and, to a lesser extent, Julio Jones — but some of our other players didn’t deliver. It wasn’t a bad lineup — it was close to a top-30-percent tournament lineup, so if you rolled with last week’s advice, you could have cashed in, depending on the tournament — but it didn’t pay off your mortgage, either.
We’re back at it in Week 14 with the optimal tournament DraftKings lineup for Sunday’s main slate. There are a handful of contrarian plays mixed in with what should be the chalk.
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QB: Andy Dalton, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,100)
Even without A.J. Green, Dalton should devour the Cleveland Browns defense. Dalton was one of my favorite cheap quarterbacks to begin the week, and I’ve made him a cornerstone player on several of my lineups since then. As noted in that article, “[The Browns] have given up multiple passing scores in all but two games this year, and have ceded three touchdowns to opposing quarterbacks in seven games, including three of their past four.” Dalton collected 308 yards and two scores against the Browns in Week 7, while gaining 11 yards per attempt and earning an NFL quarterback rating of 128.3.
RB1: Theo Riddick, Detroit Lions ($5,500)
We’re going back to Riddick in Week 14. He scored a touchdown for our squad last week, so he wasn’t a failure of a pick, but he didn’t do much else. But I still love the floor he provides through the air in the full-point PPR format of DraftKings. Plus — not that Riddick is a bruiser on the ground — the Bears have ceded 100 rushing yards to running backs in three straight games. If he sees 10 rushing attempts — a feat he accomplished every week from Weeks 2 to 9 — he should have no problem returning excellent value.
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RB2: Lamar Miller, Houston Texans ($5,100)
Miller is a Week 14 sleeper candidate, and he costs only $5,100 on DraftKings, which makes him extremely easy to roster. He’s the 20th-most-expensive running back on the site this week, and he has the 15th-most points at the position on the year as a whole. When he played the Colts in Week 6, Miller gained 178 total yards on 27 touches and scored twice. He might not have that huge of a game this week, but 100 yards and a score are within reach.
WR1: Mike Evans, Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($8,900)
Evans has a juicy matchup against New Orleans Saints corner Delvin Breaux, who has been exposed in recent weeks. Over his past three games, Breaux has seen a league-high 30 targets. He broke up none of those 30 targets, and opposing wideouts caught 19 of those passes for 228 yards and two scores. As we already know, Evans is a target machine. He leads the league with 133 looks this year, and he is tied for second with 10 touchdowns. He’s a cornerstone of this lineup.
WR2: Sammy Watkins, Buffalo Bills ($5,300)
Watkins is definitely tournament-only material this week, but he has a fantastic matchup against Artie Burns, which Jeff Ratcliffe highlighted in his weekly WR-CB matchup article. In that article, Ratcliffe noted, “Burns … has shown a propensity for giving up big plays this season with three scores surrendered over the last five weeks.” Watkins saw a team-high nine targets last week, and while he didn’t do much with that volume, it does indicate that the Bills are not “easing” him back into playing.
WR3: DeSean Jackson, Washington Redskins ($5,200)
I have fully hitched myself to Jackson’s wagon this week, so of course he’s going to be in my optimal lineup. He always has the ceiling you desire for tournaments, and he looks even better when you realize he’ll mostly line up against Leodis McKelvin, who has given up the most fantasy points per route run among all cornerbacks this year. Jackson has two touchdowns in his previous three games, and he has hauled in 59- and 67-yard receptions in his two previous games. I’m all in.
TE: Tyler Eifert, Cincinnati Bengals ($6,000)
I’m stacking Eifert with Dalton in this tournament lineup. Not only will this stack make this lineup more unique compared to other tournament lineups, but it also has to have one of the highest touchdown potentials of any stack available this week, given that the Bengals are playing against the lifeless Cleveland Browns. The Browns have given up a (tied for) league-high nine receiving touchdowns to tight ends this year.
Flex: Jimmy Graham, Seattle Seahawks ($5,500)
The double tight end play should make this lineup even more unique. Graham has four touchdowns over his previous five games, and he has seen his target share slowly rise over his previous four games: 4, 5, 7 and 9. This week he draws the Green Bay Packers, who have given up the sixth-most fantasy points to tight ends on the year. Over the past six weeks, the Packers have given up an average of 7.5 receptions, 80 yards and 0.5 touchdowns per game to tight ends.
D/ST: Tampa Bay Buccaneers ($2,400)
Here are Tampa Bay’s D/ST DraftKings finishes over the past four weeks: 1st, 12th, 2nd and 6th. And aside from Chicago (the week they finished first), Tampa Bay has actually played good offenses in that span, including Kansas City, Seattle and San Diego. The New Orleans Saints should be able to put up points, but Tampa’s defense ranks in the top 10 in sacks, fumble recoveries and interceptions. I’m fishing for a splash play here.