This is a weekly review of all the important DFS news and notes from all games played this past weekend. I give my thoughts on the relevant fantasy performances and future daily fantasy impact from each game for week 13.
This was a one sided game obviously. Carson Palmer (26-40 356 yards 2 TDs) just missed a massive game here and probably would have had one if the Rams could have scored even one TD and forced the Cards to throw a bit more late. Palmer was terrific in the face of a still tough Rams front. Multiple times he threw laser deep balls and even though he lacks the mobility of a Cam Newton or Russel Wilson his level of play is on par with those two… I write about Palmer and John Brown (6 rec. 113 yards) being a good tourney stack this week and it just missed paying off. Brown had a really nice day but just missed finding the end zone on a 68 yard completion, getting tripped up 15 yards short. Brown looked fully healthy and was getting huge separation form the Ram CBs in this game. He’s the WR I’d target in this offense going forward.
David Johnson (22 carries, 99 yards, 2 rec. 21 yards TD) also arrived with bang this week. I knew Johnson was a great receiver but he looked just as powerful and quick running the ball as he did catching it. Actually most of Johnson’s yardage came from running and I’d say that’s a really good sign as it means he’ll probably keep being used a lot even when Andre Ellington comes back. The sky’s the limit for him until Ellington returns fantasy wise, he too just missed having a massive day.
I have nothing to say about the Rams. Their O-line and joke of an offense has killed Todd Gurley. There’s some talent on this team but it won’t get flushed out until a coaching change occurs. I expect the losses to pile up for STL fast from here on in.
Studs: Carson Palmer, John Brown, David Johnson
Duds: the Rams
Well the trend of playing offensive players against the Saints continues to be profitable in DFS. The Saints allowed five passing TDs in this game and literally none of them were contested. Panthers players, particularly their WRs, were just left wide open all day long in this game and Ted Ginn (5 rec. 80 yards 2 TDs) could have literally had 4 TDs and 200 yards if he had a decent set of hands (he dropped two clear TDs). I give kudos to Cam Newton for throwing 5 TDs passes twice in a game now this year but also realize that he did so against possibly the worst two secondaries in the league (Wash and NO). Cam’s playing great so I won’t criticize but he won’t do this against better teams.
Jonathan Stewart (21 car. 82 yards TD) has really run well the past few weeks but keeps loosing key touches and carries to Newton and Mike Tolbert. He’s still a big part of this offense but just lacks the big game upside we’ve seen from other backs.
Saints WR Brandin Cooks had a bit of a “statement game” going for 6 rec. over 100 yards and a TD versus Josh Norman most of the day. Everyone was criticizing him at the start of the season but he’s been amazingly consistent for fantasy the last 5 weeks. Keep riding him as the Saints defense will mean he’ll be needed on a weekly basis.
Studs: Cam Newton, Brandin Cooks
Duds: Panthers D
The Bucs literally ran their way to victory in this game. Doug Martin (25 car. 95 yards TD) was easily the best player on offense for the Bucs and even though he got 25 carries I still felt he was somewhat underused. He reeled off some great 10+ yard gains and just missed going over 100 yards for the day. There were several times he could have been used in the pass game and was just sitting there open in the flat too. Either way he’s still playing great and should be a great target against weak run defenses going forward (note: the Bucs play the Saints next week).
Jameis Winston (18-27 227 yards TD INT) is handling pressure better than he was at the start of the year and kudos to him for staying aggressive. He was always looking downfield in this game although a lot of time that was to his detriment as he often had Martin just sitting in the flat. He also threw a pick late in this game that was called back on a somewhat suspect PI penalty that would have sealed it for ATL. I’m just not sold on him long term being a good QB but he does have fantasy value especially because he’s more mobile than I thought and durable for his size. He also get the Saints next week
Matt Ryan’s (30-45 269 yards TD INT) arm looks done to me. On a couple of occasions in this game I could have sworn it was Peyton Manning throwing the ball to the outside as the ball just seemed to balloon its way there. Ryan not being able to throw properly is great news for Devonta Freeman who returned in this game and caught a ton of passes. Even if the Falcons can’t run it that well he’s basically the de facto number 2 receiver behind Julio Jones and Ryan’s best shot if he is having arm issues.
Studs: Doug Martin
Duds: Matt Ryan
The Bills continue their trend of playing poorly one week and then rebounding the next. Tyrod Taylor (11-21, 211 yards 3 TDs, 7 car. 28 yards TD) and Sammy Watkins (3 rec. 103 yards TD) also continued their trend of hooking up for a decent game and this is definitely a trend I’d expect to continue. Now that Percy Harvin is gone Watkins is the clear number one option for the Bills and even in their low volume pass offense he’s getting lots of targets and downfield opportunities (kudos to Tyrod for throwing it deep lots). The Bills have two weak passing D’s in a row coming up and I expect them to go out swinging in their hunt for the playoffs. Keep your eyes on Watkins the next couple of weeks.
Lesean McCoy (21 car. 112 yards) exited this game briefly or he could have had a much bigger day and again looked great running it going for over 110 rushing yards. Expect the Bills to ride McCoy a lot the rest of the year too, they have no choice but to use their best players as much as possible from here on out as they’re not deep enough at the skill positions.
The Texans D definitely had a bit of an off week after three great weeks in a row, and were definitely susceptible to being run on. It will be interesting to see how they rebound as a week 14 matchup with the Pats loom.
Studs: Sammy Watkins, Tyrod Taylor
Duds: Houston D, Alfred Blue
The Chiefs offense keeps rolling. While many people are looking for a Travis Kelce (2 rec. 42 yards) resurgence the real fantasy play the past two weeks for KC has been Jeremy Maclin (9 rec. 95 yards 2 TDs). Andy Reid has always been good at getting his skilled receivers the ball and he’s doing exactly that with Maclin who scored on two quick screens in this game. Maclin’s going to keep getting used and probably keep being effective too, the Chiefs offense is playing very well right now.
Unfortunately for fantasy purposes it looks as though the Chiefs running back position is going to be useless as Spenser Ware and Charcandrick West basically split work evenly in this game. The Chiefs use the RB position a ton and both men caught multiple receptions in this game. Still until one gets promoted or injured you can’ risk rostering either player.
The Raiders passing game took a bit of a hit here. I expected the Raiders to be able to handle the Chiefs but the Chiefs secondary and defense as a whole has done a complete 180 since week 5. This is a team you pretty much have to avoid with your skill players at the moment.
I still like Derek Carr (31-48, 283 yards 2 TDs, 3 INTs) going forward for fantasy as he’s aggressive and even his picks in this game (outside one bonehead play) were at least on longer throws downfield. It bugs me that he couldn’t get Amari Cooper (4 rec. 69 yards) going and I might be done expecting a big day from Cooper again in 2015 as Carr is starting to spread more targets around to secondary receivers. I like the talent with Cooper but he’s not getting as much consistent love from Carr as I’d hoped he would this season.
Studs: Jeremy Maclin, Chiefs D
Duds: Amari Cooper, Charcandrick West, Travis Kelce
I get everyone is excited by Blake Bortles (24-36, 322 yards) and his 5 TDs but this game was about the emergence of Allen Robinson (10 rec. 153 yards 3 TDs) for me. I figured Robinson would have a big game here with Allen Hurns out, but even I didn’t expect this. Robinson was masterful at both boxing out opponents and going up and getting Bortles air balls when he just chucked it up for grabs. Bortles is blessed to have Robinson as his WR because accuracy isn’t exactly his thing, although Bortles didn’t exactly play terribly either and had his best day as a pro here too. I like the way the Jags are playing on offense and the fact their defense stinks enough that they’ll need Bortles chucking it up to Robinson the rest of the year to stay relevant. This is a great offense to target form here on out.
Well it finally happened. Marcus Mariota (20-29 268 yards 3 TDs, 9 car. 112 yards TD) used his legs consistently and we all saw the result, an 87 yard running TD and well over 100 yards rushing. Why on earth the Titans wouldn’t let him do more rushing the first ten games of the year is beyond me because they’d probably have a much better record if they did. If you’re a Mariota fan you have to hope the Titans get in a new offensive coordinator next year who runs some read option because defending Mariota will be a nightmare if they do.
Quick note: also look for the emergence of Dorial Green Beckham (5 rec. 119 yards TD) over the next couple weeks. He finally broke out here and is a special kind of player athletically at WR. He took a long TD pass to the end zone by basically running through two players. If he’s comfortable from here on out he’s definitely someone to keep an eye on in fantasy, some of the metrics on him are through the roof.
Studs: Marcus Mariota, Blake Bortles, Dorial Green Beckham, Allen Robinson, Delanie Walker
This game had little for fantasy football purposes. I can’t think of a worse team for fantasy right now than the Dallas Cowboys. They play slow on offense but and rarely make plays over 10 yards. The Cowboys kicked 3 field goals and only scored late on a TD off a turnover. Outside of that the team did little all night. The worst part about the Cowboys is that their defense is pretty good meaning whoever they play isn’t really a good target either. I want nothing to do with them the rest of the year.
The Redskins aren’t much better for fantasy, but least Kirk Cousins (22-31, 219 yards TD) has some weapons to throw to I guess. Desean Jackson (6 rec. 80 yards TD) had quite the 4th quarter, fumbling a punt return and then catching a 30 yard TD a minute or so later (after Dallas had scored). Jackson’s looked great since coming back from injury but the Skins are playing a lot of ball control/conservative style too and Jackson isn’t getting more than 4-5 targets a game. Unless they get into a shootout he’s pretty much a “use at your peril” type of player.
One other thing I will say about Washington; their secondary is awful. The Skins are starting a couple corners who really have no business playing CB in the NFL and I would definitely take advantage of that in coming weeks with your rosters. They may not have let a WR score in this game but that was more about their opponent than them.
Duds: Jordan Reed
If you used Aaron Rodgers (24-36, 276 yards 2 TDs INT, 4 car. 27 yards TD) in this game you got lucky for fantasy purposes. The Green Bay offense did absolutely nothing for 3 ½ quarters and then got a late running TD from Rodgers and also possibly the greatest Hail Mary play ever. Outside of these two plays Green Bay just looked lost on offense and quite frankly doesn’t have good enough personnel at their receiver positions at the moment to make big plays anymore. I want nothing to do with this offense or their skill players.
TE Richard Rogers (8 rec. 146 yards TD) did look great in this game and obviously made the play of the year on the late TD catch. The fact is though he’s slow after the catch and somewhat red zone dependant. If he stays min-priced you could consider him but otherwise stay away from Green Bay, this offense is really struggling.
As bad as the Green Bay pass game was the Packers run game was worse. Eddie Lacy got benched for some kind of curfew violation and both he and James Starks looked bad when they were in anyways. The two will probably continue to split work and just be semi-useless for fantasy.
The Lions started this game well and it looked like Matthew Stafford (23-35, 220 yards 2 TDs) might be on his way to be a big game. The Green Bay defense is still solid though and eventually they stalled out Stafford and their pass game. Calvin Johnson (3 rec. 44 yards TD) had a great TD catch and looked a little more Calvin-esque in this game. The Lions can’t run the ball and so targeting this duo down the stretch could pay off some weeks.
Studs: Aaron Rodgers, Richard Rogers
Duds: Randall Cobb, Lions secondary
This was a trouncing. The Vikings were down some key defenders in this game but I’m not sure if it would have mattered. The Vikings are a solid team but run an antiquated offense that’s based on them being up or within a couple points of the lead every game. The Vikings couldn’t run Adrian Peterson (8 car. 18 yards) early and the once the Hawks got up by a couple scores this game was over. Peterson had been on a bit of a roll coming into this game but is too easy for elite teams to shut down given the lack of diversity for Minnesota on offense. Against weaker teams I’ll use Peterson since I know he’s Minnesota’s best chance and only chance many weeks on offense but against good teams he’s always a clear fade for me.
The Seahawks offense is a definite target right now. This team has shifted into more read option looks the past few weeks with Jimmy Graham out and looked much better doing so. Russell Wilson (21-27, 274 yards 3 TDs, 9 car 51 yards TD) finally ran for a TD in this game and also just seemed more willing to take off with the ball than he was early in the season. Passing wise he’s simply killing it and was rarely off target in this game. The Hawks don’t have many big WRs but Doug Baldwin caught another two TDs in this game and is just getting a lot more work in his slot/outside role with no Graham. Rookie Tyler Lockett (7 rec. 90 yards) is now a bigger part of the offense too and he’s someone you can now consider for lineups too. A big game or two from him before the season ends won’t shock me. Ride Wilson and this offense till the end of the year, Seattle can’t take their foot off the gas as they need to win out to guarantee a playoff spot.
Studs: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin
Duds: Adrian Peterson
Cincy was like a Cat toying with its prey in this game. The Browns left AJ Green (5 rec. 128 yards TD) with some huge separation on a couple plays and he made them pay both times. A bigger game from AJ would have been in the cards with Tyler Eifert out here but the Browns couldn’t keep it close. If Eifert misses again I’d be 100% for riding AJ a little more until he gets back, he’ll get more red zone targets which will help in closer games.
Jeremy Hill (22 car. 98 yards TD) had a nice game here and I suggested he was a decent play this week on my tournament article for DFS Report. The Browns are a great target right now for your offensive plays and I’d suggest making sure you consider whoever is playing against them each week, especially at RB. That being said I’m still unimpressed with how Hill has run this season. Against the Browns he was able to find the end zone and break a few mediocre gains but he still looked slow doing it. Against better teams Hill will get shut down and so outside of this week I’d personally just avoid this run game.
The Browns were predictably outmatched in this game at every corner. To make matters worse they suffered some injuries at WR where they were already very thin. It’s an easy call to just fade this group from here on out as I’m not even sure who will be starting at WR/QB next week.
Studs: AJ Green, Andy Dalton
This was easily the most boring game the week. The Bears lost this game because they’re too conservative on offense. They ran the ball, checked down on 3rd downs a lot and for some reason just could not get Alshon Jeffery (4 rec. 85 yards) going at all. Jeffery was over thrown (just missed a 50+ yard TD) a couple of times but also made a couple of drops, it was a bad day for him and QB Jay Cutler (18-31, 202 yards 0 TDs). I know a lot of people had Cutler ranked highly this week and I’m still not sure why. The Bears love to run a lot and use the RB in the pass game. This doesn’t make for huge fantasy days. The targets are still there for Alshon so there’ll be better days ahead for him but this isn’t an offense I’d ever look to stack for tournaments.
On San Francisco Blaine Gabbert played remarkably well in this game as a game manager but don’t get any fancy ideas about using him the future. San Fran lost TE Vance McDonald to a concussion and they are already shorthanded enough at the receiver positions. The 49ers won this game with good defense and a little bit of well timed luck.
RB Shaun Draughn (13 car. 36 yards TD, 5 rec. 50 yards) is getting a ton of work and has been a bit of a ppr monster the past couple of weeks. I’d be careful with which teams you use him against since the 49ers aren’t exactly an offensive powerhouse though. He was lucky to find the end zone once in this game but it wont be a weekly occurrence. San Fran is playing well but completely undermanned/outgunned most weeks.
Studs: Shaun Draughn
Duds: Jay Cutler, Alshon Jeffery
The Steelers passing offense is scary when they are clicking. The Colts had zero chance in this game as their secondary has struggled all season against elite WRs and the Pittsburgh receivers are pretty much second to none. Antonio Brown (8 rec. 118 yards 2 TDs, return TD) looked unstoppable again and added a nice return TD at the end of the game to boost him to monster play. I don’t know why he was out there returning kicks at the end of the game with the Steelers up by a zillion but more power to him I guess, it helped for fantasy.
If you read my review from last week I told you not to chase the points with Marcus Wheaton (3 rec. 50 yards TD). Wheaton actually scored again but it was Martavis Bryant (4 rec. 114 yards TD) who really ended up rebounding with a huge game here. Bryant was unstoppable for the first half of this game and just missed another TD late which would have made his day massive. His red zone usage and the Steelers ability to move the ball at will means you need to consider him every week regardless of the competition.
Deangelo Williams (26 car. 134 yards, 5 rec. 31 yards) is probably the best running back in fantasy the rest of the way for me. There’s no one else at RB who plays in this high tempo an offense, catches a lot of passes and basically gets the entire workload for his team. He looked great again this week and could have easily scored 45 points if he had gotten the red zone touches.
The Colts offense is obviously not at its best without Andrew Luck and they just couldn’t get anything going in the second half. I suggested using TY Hilton this week but after the Steelers pass rush got the Hasselbeck a couple of times it was pretty obvious there were going to be no big plays for Indy in this game. I’d really just try and avoid the Colts offense altogether if you can until Andrew Luck returns. The big games you need for tournaments just won’t be there until he does.
Studs: Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Big Ben
Duds: TY Hilton
As the Jets pass D goes down the tubes the opportunities for big days from Brandon Marshall (12 rec. 131 yards TD) and Eric Decker (8 rec. 101 yards) should keep coming fast and furiously. Marshall was his usual unstoppable self in this game and boxed out the Giants corners on a couple big plays, including the eventual game tying TD. With the Jets having trouble running it of late and their defense forcing them into more shootouts this passing game is one to watch as the season nears close.
For the Giants, they truly have not had a run game all year and nothing changed this week. The Giants are really relying Odell Beckham (6 rec. 149 yards TD) a ton right now and will continue to have to throw his way 12+ times a game as they’re now in a dogfight for the last playoff spot. TE Will Tye (3 rec. 70 yards) had his second straight decent fantasy day and is definitely someone to watch against weaker pass D’s if his price stays low. The Giants will need a secondary receiver to step up at some point and it looks like Tye is the preferred secondary option right now for Eli.
Studs: Brandon Marshall, Odell Beckham
Duds: Chris Ivory
This was easily the shocker game of the week although to be honest the Eagles won this game because of their defense and special teams. Sam Bradford (14-24 140 yards 2 TDs) did play OK in this game and is definitely an upgrade over Mark Sanchez (not saying much there though are we). No Eagles receiver is getting targeted enough right now to make a difference in fantasy however.
As for Demarco Murray, I fully expect him to keep seeing less snaps as the season wears on. Murray’s arguably been the worst back for Philly all year and when Ryan Mathews comes back expect the Eagles to give him more work. Kenjon Barner was actually running in front of Murray this game, although the fact he lost a fumble late obviously might hurt his value going forward.
The Patriots WRs had awful games. Danny Amedola (7 rec. 62 yards TD) was OK for fantasy and caught a nice TD early but there were a ton of drops in this game by Patriots WRs too. With the Pats getting down early Tom Brady (29-56, 312 yards 3 TDs, rushing TD, 1 rec. 36 yards) got into fight or flight mode late and ended up scoring a late passing and rushing TD to put together one of his best days for fantasy. The Pats also used a ton of James White (10 rec. 115 yards TD) in this game. I’d be careful with White going forward though as the Pats signed rookie Trey Williams last week and he’s a better player than White. The Pats RB situation will be hard to decipher each week without Dion Lewis.
Studs: Eagles D, Tom Brady
Duds: Demarco Murray