Daily Fantasy Week 14: Shootouts and Defensive Struggles
Hi Daily Fantasy Veterans and Rookies,
Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving and enjoyed the insanity that was football this weekend….Ryan Fitzpatrick ?!?!?!?!?!?!?#?$?#?!?!?!?!
Big Ben and Antonio Brown disappointing until garbage time ?!?!?#?!?#!@?!?!?!!
The winner of the Draft Kings Millionaire Make with over 300 points….?!?@?#$?#?@!?
It was definitely a fun weekend and with the pricing on Draft Kings this week, it promises to be another interesting week for Daily Fantasy players.
To help you set the optimal team (and hopefully take home some major cash prizes, including yet again another cool $1,000,000 first prize up for grabs in this week’s $2.2 Million Guaranteed contest on Draft Kings) each week we look for those games that the odds makers in Vegas see as high scoring affairs, which means a lot of fantasy points should be racked up, and which should be low scoring games where the points will be hard to come by.
To check out the first article of this series for a complete description of the strategy: CLICK HERE
In this article we look at the Sunday and Monday games since we are looking to hit the optimal lineup to take a run at big contests on Draft Kings (these contests do not include the Thursday night game). So we usually don’t look at the Thursday night game even if it looks like a big point generator like this week’s Cowboys @ Bears matchup with a 51 point Over/Under. If you play the contests that include the Thursday game there is a ton of value in this game, Romo and Cutler are both nice options at $7,500 and $7,200, respectively. Murray and Forte are both expensive at $8,800 and $8,700 but paired with one of the cheaper QBs could be a nice player to build a team around. At WR, Dez and Alshon are nice at $7,100 and $7,000. Of the two TEs, Bennett for only $500 more at $5,200 gets the nod over Witten, but personally I hate trusting Bennett this late in the season.
With no byes and only one game on Thursday Night, we have players from 30 teams available to us. It’s nice isn’t it? Hopefully the below analysis can help you make the tough choices and provide some tie-breaking info as you put your lineup together.
Here we go: Looking at Week 14, there are four games that meet our 50 point over/under threshold.
Over/Under with Positive Impact on Value: TARGET PLAYERS ON THESE TEAMS THIS WEEK
For our negative game(s) we look for games under 42 points.
Over/Under with Negative Impact on Value: AVOID PLAYERS ON THESE TEAMS THIS WEEK
Basic strategy with the above information is to look for studs and lower priced value in the “POSITIVE” games and look to avoid most but not all of the players in the “NEGATIVE” games.
Now with our tools (FFC Strength of Schedule, FF Champs Defense Stats Allowed , The FFCPI and the FFC Daily Fantasy Rank Tool) primed and ready to go, we can now review our target games and make some decisions and look for value:
Atlanta Falcons @ Green Bay Packers:
You have to love Monday Night Juice and this game promises to have a lot of juice!
The Falcons come into the “Frozen Tundra” as one of the worst defenses in the league, ranked dead last (32nd) against the pass and 20th against the run. The Packers do both very, very well. The Packers are 11th versus the pass and 28th against the run and this game has a huge 56 point Over/Under.
What does this mean for us in Fantasy, it means we have to start the Packer studs, with the pricing this week Rodgers is the highest priced QB at $9,800, this is a high, but Rodgers has been worth it, especially at home (20 TD no INT). With Jordy at “only” $8,100 and Cobb at $7,400 a Green Bay Packer stack is still doable and alone could set you up for a big day. As for the Davante Adams at $4,200, I am a bit skeptical this week. Adams’ excellent performance was probably more a factor of the Patriots working to shut down Nelson and Cobb, versus Atlanta, Jordy and Cobb should return to being Rodgers’ targets and Adams should revert back to his WR3 status.
If you are going to go in a different direction and don’t want to pay for Rodgers, do not forget to look at Eddie Lacy. Last week was his first sub-20 point week in 4 four weeks, and he still had over 100 combined yards versus Bill Belichick and the Patriots. Against the hapless Falcons, Lacy should get back to a 20+ point week, especially if the Packers move over into run mode after scorching the Falcons through the air and building up a big lead.
For the Falcons, Julio Jones proved once again why he is an elite WR with 38 fantasy points last week and should be considered for your roster this week, even though he is expensive at $8,300. With Roddy White still working through an injury, Harry Douglas (24 fantasy points last week), becomes a very interesting WR3/Flex at only $4,500.
I am going to fade Matt Ryan at $7,000 this week as his record outdoors is weak and in the cold in Green Bay he probably has a ceiling of between 18-20 points. A very interesting play is Steven Jackson at only $3,900. To keep Rodgers and company off the field, Atlanta should be looking to run the ball a ton and last week Jackson showed what he can do when given the ball…101 yards on 18 carries. This play does carry some risk as if the Packers do in fact pour it on early and jump out to a big lead the Falcons will have to abandon the run and pass, pass, pass.
Indianapolis Colts @ Cleveland Browns: note this game has been fluctuating between 49 and 50 ½ points over/under
The Browns have been very solid versus QBs this year, but have not faced the quality of a QB like Andrew Luck. After a couple of sub-par (for him) performance, Luck came back strong last week versus the Redskins putting up 38 fantasy points. He should be primed for another big day versus the Browns and while expensive at $9,700, Luck should be looked at as a definite option this week. The Browns have only allowed 2 touchdowns to running backs (one on the ground & one through the air) in the last six weeks, so the Colts’ RBs (Herron and Richardson) are probably not the best options, despite their lower prices ($5,400 & $3,800, respectively). The Browns are also solid versus WRs and TY Hilton ($8,000) will have to contend with Joe Haden, nevertheless with Donte Moncrief ($4,700), starting to breakout, there should be plenty of opportunities for both WRs. Reggie Wayne appears to be feeling his age a bit and is seeing less action, he is most likely ok to fade this week.
At TE, it’s likely that Dwayne Allen should be back on the field (at the time of this writing), if so Colby Fleener’s $5,700 salary becomes somewhat high as his role should be diminished. Conversely, at only $3,600, Allen becomes highly valuable.
Even if Johnny Football gets the start versus the Colts, he is probably not worth his $6,200 salary. While it might be fun to have him in your lineup, he is still just a rookie and will be prone to the usual rookie mistakes. Josh Gordon at $8,100 is still worth a start, he had huge days last year with Jason Campbell at quarterback, and Manziel should not slow him down. The other best option on the Browns offense is Isiah Crowell. Two weeks ago, the Patriots showed what a ground and pound running attack can do against the Colts and at only $5,000, Crowell is a great play with a high upside.
New England Patriots @ San Diego Chargers:
Philip Rivers had a big bounce back week last week versus the Baltimore Ravens, putting up 31 fantasy points. It December and Rivers loves the final month of the year, in 2012 he threw 8 TDs in December and in 2013 he threw 10 TDs. While the Patriots defense will be a challenge, at only $6,800 he is a solid option this week. The Chargers’ RBs: Mathews ($4,700), Brown ($3,000) and Oliver ($3,000), however Mathews has a pretty solid 12-15 point floor and could be a good play in “cash” contests. At WR, Keenan Allen is starting to live up to his pre-season hype, and coming off a huge 38 fantasy point day last week, will undoubtedly end up on Revis Island, definitely hurting his value. He should get his catches, but if he does not find the end zone, he might not be worth his $7,200 salary. Malcom Floyd and Eddie Royal, both at $4,400, could have value as the Patriots look to shut down Allen, but more in “cash” contests than GPPs.
On the Patriots side of the ball, Tom Brady looks good at $8,500, facing a Chargers defense that gave up 2 TD to Joe Flacco last week and 3 TDs to both Ryan Tannehill and Peyton Manning in recent weeks. Of the elite QBs, Brady’s salary makes him an easy pick this week. It has been two weeks since Rob Gronkowski has found the end zone. He has been getting the receptions and the targets (last week 7 catches on 12 targets), just not the TDs. I have a feeling that the evil mastermind, Bill Belichick, will work had this week to get Gronk into the end zone and serve notice on the league this his baby bull is still to be feared. I see Gronk have a huge game in the bright moonlight of San Diego. Even at $8,000, he is worth a shot this week.
The other receivers on the Patriots are nicely priced, Edelman at $6,300 and LaFell at $6,200, and are good value with Brady throwing them the ball versus a Changers defense that has allowed 194 fantasy points to WRs in the last five weeks.
As always with the Patriots and the mastermind Belichick, who knows which RB will get the touches in the Patriot backfield? Last week Brandon Bolden - ?!@#$? – ($3,100)) got the TD carry, Jonus Gray ($3,500) seems to be firmly ensconced in the Dog House (1 carry last week), Laguarette Blount ($4,200) averaged 5.8 ypg, but only had 10 carries last week, and Shane Vereen ($4,600) after 16 touches in week 12 had only 4 touches last week. It seems that Belichick is quite content to run a huge four-headed monster in his backfield, leaving little room for any of the Patriot RBs to be fantasy relevant.
While the game does not reach our 50 point over/under threshold, attention should be paid to the Carolina Panthers and the New Orleans Saints game with a 49 ½ point over/under. All Saints players are solid plays, and as the Steelers showed, the Saints defense can be had (even if its garbage time), making Cam Newton and Kelvin Benjamin solid options as well. Do not ignore this game and its studs.
Now, on to the games to avoid:
NEGATIVE GAMES: (Remember, a negative game does not mean that all players will stink and not put up fantasy numbers, it just means that there is generally better value to be had elsewhere)
Tampa Bay Buccaneers @ Detroit Lions:
While the Lions defense is recognized as one of the best in the league, but recently the Buccaneers defense has stood up strong. In the past four weeks they have allowed only 4 passing touchdowns, while holding opposing QBs to under 15 fantasy points. Similarly versus WRs in the past three weeks, the Bucs have allowed a maximum of 20 fantasy points to WRs in any given week.
Based on the apparent defensive strengths of these teams, I would fade the players in this game with the possible exception of Mike Evans whose $6,700 price tag might be just too good to pass up. I can hear you out there, “What about Megatron?” Well, I agree, Calvin Johnson has definitely come back strong, but at $9,500 this week, he just seems way too expensive.
New York Jets @ Minnesota Vikings:
With Teddy Bridgewater at the controls, it will be difficult for the Vikings to take advantage of the porous Jets secondary while the Jets run defense should easily handle the Vikings RBs. The Jets’ offense continue to struggle and shows no signs of coming to life with the lone possible exception of Chris Ivory who at $4,200. The Vikings are giving up the 7th most points to RBs and early in the Miami game last week was chewing up chunks of yardage. If the Jets game plan to run the ball, Ivory could have very solid value.
The Vikings defense ($3,400) has been a very good scoring D/ST and could be a good play this week versus turnover machine Geno Smith.
Kansas City Chiefs @ Arizona Cardinals:
Andre Ellington may not play, Larry Fitzgerald is banged up, Drew Stanton is Drew Stanton and the Kansas City Defense is solid. Arizona’s pass defense is not good, but Kansas City has a very minimal passing game, Jamaal Charles ($8,500) is a beast, but he is a bit dinged up with a bruised knee and the Cardinals’ run defense is ranked 6th against the run in terms of fantasy points allowed. This all spells a low scoring game with few fantasy points up for grabs.
As with the above, the defenses could be a solid play here with the Cardinals at $3,400 and the Chiefs at $2,900.
San Francisco 49ers @ Oakland Raiders:
The Niners defense is 4th against the pass and 8th against the run and the Oakland Raiders do not do either that well, Latavius Murray notwithstanding. Murray ($3,800) has still not cleared his concussion protocols and is still questionable for this week (at the time of this writing). Even so, against the stingy Niners defense, he is not a sure thing to go off again if he does play.
Who knows what is going on with the Niners offense, but if there is a game where they can get healthy this is the one. The Raiders defense is terrible and as shown by Tre Mason they can be run on at will. This could be a situation where even with a low over/under, there could be some fantasy relevance here for the Niners. The final score could be 35-3. The price tags on the Niners offensive players are cheap, I am hesitant to trust them but in the WR3 and Flex slots they could provide value. Here are players I would look at: Colin Kaepernick - $6,500; Frank Gore - $4,800; Anquan Boldin - $5,900; Michael Crabtree - $4,900 and the SF D/ST - $3,600.
I am not 100% confident on any of these, but this could be the week the Niners play like the Niners.
Well, that is it for this week, remember to do your research and look for more daily fantasy articles in the upcoming days.
If you have any questions, comments or just want to talk fantasy, hit me up on Twitter (@Beaudog2).
Good luck this weekend!!!