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 14.
I’m beginning to have a little more faith in the Philly defense again after this game. Everyone expected Lesean McCoy and Sammy Watkins to go nuts in this game but outside of one long TD by Watkins there really wasn’t a huge fantasy day for anyone on Buffalo. QB Tyrod Taylor continues his streak of nice fantasy games although the people who expected him to go nuts in this spot had to be disappointed. Taylor rushed for over 50 yards but could only find the endzone once passing wise. With the Bills season essentially over after this win it’s hard to say how willing Taylor will be to sell out for those big games from here on out.
The one thing that might keep Tyrod Taylor (19-36, 268 yards TD INT, 8 car. 53 yards) relevant for fantasy is the presence of Sammy Watkins (5 rec. 81 yards TD). We saw time and time again in this game, and the last few weeks as well, Tyrod is not afraid to throw deep to Watkins and Watkins is more than capable of converting those into big plays. Against weaker secondary’s and pass rushes this duo could have some nice garbage games down the stretch for fantasy, the talent is certainly there for it to happen.
On Philly, I do think Sam Bradford (23-38 247 yards TD INT) is playing much better than he was at the start of the season but this offense is really just too hard to pin down for fantasy purposes. Ryan Mathews (13 car. 38 yards) led the Eagles in carries in this game and that could be a sign of things to come as I fully expect the Eagles to cut Demarco Murray after the seasons over. Mathews could be a cheap sourse of fantasy points down the stretch although the fact he’ll be sharing work with at least two other backs makes him hard to trust. Mathews ran OK in this game and I expect him to get more opportunities next week.
Studs: Sammy Watkins
Duds: Jordan Matthews
Well this was easily the best game of the year for the Packers Eddie Lacy (24 car. 124 yards TD). Green Bay finally got their run game going and that predictably led to an easy win over Dallas. Lacy was powerful and hard to take down on almost every carry in this game and you can see how hard the Packers are to beat once he gets going. The fact is though Lacy still split time with James Starks (11 car. 71 yards TD, 4 rec. 49 yards TD) in this game and Starks himself had a big day fantasy wise too scoring two TDs and was a factor in the pass game (which Lacy was not). Lacy’s definitely intriguing going forward and might be a cure for the anemic Packers offense but I’d still use caution with someone who’s underperformed all year and is still splitting carries with another back.
Richard Rogers (1 rec. 3 yards TD) predictably had a regression game here although he did find the end zone again. Rodgers is arguably the best receiver on the Packers after Randall Cobb (8 rec. 81 yards), who had a nice game here, but it’s hard to justify using either of these two every week because of how inconsistent the Packers have been passing the ball. With Mike Macarthy calling plays now it’s possible we see some progression in their next couple of games, Cobb might be on the radar for me as a gpp play.
For Dallas this win actually didn’t even officially eliminate them from the playoffs. While there’s not much upside with most of the Dallas players their defense has played well this year and Darren McFadden (9 car. 111 yards) continues to get lots of use and busted off over 100 yards on just 9 carries in this game. It’s not the best spot but he’s still an RB to consider at least until Dallas finally gets eliminated and they pull some of his carries.
Studs: Eddie Lacy, James Starks
Duds: Dez Bryant
The Jags were up by 30 in this game with a first down and goal to go and 2 min left on the clock. Instead of kneeling and basically ending the game the Jags put their starting QB in danger as they did a sneak from the 1 yard line where Bortles jumped over the pile. Given how easily people get injured in this league I did not understand this play one bit (the game was over) but it really helped Blake Bortles (16-30, 250 yards 3 TDs) fantasy day. Bortles had a nice second half and ended up with decent numbers but just remember that without this ridiculous play his day would have been a lot less awesome.
I’ve been watching Bortles the last couple of weeks really keep his eye on Julius Thomas (5 rec. 54 yards TD) in and around the red zone and wasn’t shocked to see Thomas get a TD in this game. Thomas is just so good at boxing out on short slants (as he did to Indy on his 4th Quarter TD this week) and credit to Bortles for figuring this out and looking to him almost every time the Jags are within the 5-10 yard line. Thomas led the Jags in receptions in this game and against weaker foes you could see a multi-TD game from him again before the year is over.
It’s really interesting for me to see TY Hilton (4 rec. 132 yards) put up decent numbers without Andrew Luck. Hilton caught two long passes in this game which accounted for most of his yards and honestly he just missed breaking both for long TDs. The Jags secondary is weak and it’s a unit I would attack for fantasy going forward. The other thing to consider is how good Hilton might be once Andrew Luck comes back. A little more power on a couple of those throws and Hilton could have ended up with 200 yards and 2 TDs.
Studs: Blake Bortles, Julius Thomas, Jags D
Duds: Frank Gore, Allen Robinson
The biggest bust of the fantasy week by far was Jameis Winston (18-32, 182 yards TD) and the Tampa Bay passing game. Everyone gets that the Saints have been awful on defense but the Tampa passing game has been low volume-hit or miss every week and this week it was a big miss. Jameis Winston completed barely over 50% of his passes against the weakest/worst secondary in the league and his backup RB was the leading receiver for the day. I’ve been against targeting this passing offense all year and outside of one massive week I’ve been right, I’d stay off them for the most part from here on out, unless they get some kind of sweetheart matchup week 16-17.
I seriously can’t believe that Tim Hightower got over 20 touches in this game but apparently he’s the main RB now for the Saints. Hightower got 85 yards on 28 touches so it’s not like he’s got a huge amount of upside and he isn’t someone I’ll be looking to use much of at all.
The Saints pulled a fast one again in this game and used more Snead/Watson versus the thin secondary of the Bucs. I loved this spot for Brandin Cooks (3 rec. 29 yards) but the Saints are always capable of spreading the ball a ton, especially on bad teams. While its nice to see Snead back in the mix I’d advise staying on Cooks from here on out for gpps. The big games have been there recently and I won’t be shocked to see him put up a couple more big ones before the end of the year.
Studs: Tim Hightower
Duds: Tampa passing game
Matt Forte (10 car. 45 yards TD) and Jeremy Langford (11 car. 37 yards, 3 rec. 27 yards) are now in a complete timeshare and the fact that the Bears are now out of the playoffs means it will probably stay that way the rest of the year. Langford took more carries in this game and also saw way more targets in the pass game. Expect the trend to continue and avoid these two unless one gets hurt.
Everyone was off the passing games of these two teams because of weather concerns yet Jordan Reed (9 rec. 120 yards TD) and Alshon Jeffery (6 rec. 107 yards TD) both had monster days. Reed has been the crutch for Kirk Cousins all season and against a weaker Bears secondary in a close game he really was a great play and one I completely regret overlooking. If Desean Jackson misses time Reed will probably only get more targets and be a stronger play as the Skin’s try desperately to make the playoffs.
As far as Alshon Jeffery goes he’s really only had one awful week when starting and healthy in this offense. He caught a nice TD in this game and I expect him to get a ton of work as the Bears wind down the season… there’s really no other up and coming Bears WR to speak of to steal work.
Studs: Alshon Jeffery, Jordan Reed
Duds: Matt Forte
This game was pretty dull for me from a fantasy standpoint but there’s a couple interesting notes. The first is that LeGarrette Blount got hurt in this game and if he misses any time it could mean good things for either James White (4 rec. 38 yards, TD) or Brandon Boldin (16 car. 51 yards). White is the passing back right now for NE and was again a factor on offense once again in this game, even taking in a short TD carry late. If Blount misses time it certainly doesn’t hurt his cause next week.
Rob Gronkowski (4 rec. 87 yards TD) returned in this game and did usual Gronk things. It sounds obvious to say but with Gronk healthy, and possibly no Blount, Tom Brady (22-30, 226 yards 2 TDs) might have more upside than usual the next couple weeks. The Pats are chasing the number one seed in the AFC and Brady’s play has been nothing short of amazing all season. He was his usual great self in this game even if the Pats didn’t need a huge fantasy game from him to win.
DeAndre Hopkins (3 rec. 52 yards) was completely shut down in this game. The Pats definitely did a good job taking him away but it might have been more about the Pats pass rush who recorded 6 sacks than their coverage (which was also good). The Pats D has been underrated all season and other team’s elite players just have not put up many big games versus them at all. They’re as good a team to fade as any for fantasy.
Studs: Rob Gronkowski, Pats D
Duds: DeAndre Hopkins
The Dolphins ran the ball great in the first half but then gave up on it/got shut down in the second half. Lamar Miller (12 car. 89 yards 2 TDs) looked great and broke off a few big runs in the first half but was essentially kept off the field the entire second half. I’m not sure why the Dolphins refused to get Miller on the field in the 2nd half or involved in the pass game in some way, but they did. Going forward I have no idea why Miller wouldn’t get more touches next week and I think the Dolphins coaches will likely be crucified for not getting him more touches in this game. I’ll be on Miller next week, especially since he plays the Chargers.
Jarvis Landry (11 rec. 99 yards) got 18+ targets in this game but didn’t break 100 yards receiving. While the targeting on Landry was amazing the Giants did a good job of containing the big plays and causing a ton of incompletions. Landry’s targeting is amazing, but the poor QB play from Ryan Tannehill definitely limited his upside in this game and probably will continue to do so going forward.
The Giants are very much a two man show right now. Odell Beckham (7 rec. 166 yards 2 TDs) and Eli Manning (27-31, 337 yards, 4 TDs) are definitely clicking and with the way Beckham is making plays I’m not sure if he’s even a fade for me next week versus the Panthers. Beckham made a great toe drag, TD catch and then followed that play up by just sprinting past everyone on a broken coverage, long TD catch. It will be interesting to see how highly-owned he is next week, but if he’d be an interesting gpp play if he were under 10% for me, even if he is going up against Josh Norman at CB.
Studs: Odell Beckham, Eli Manning, Lamar Miller
Duds: DeVante Parker
The Vikings started off this game great on offense and then went into a shell. Adrian Peterson (23 car. 69 yards TD) is still running great but after the opening drive he was almost completely shut down by the Cards D. The Vikings offense is so conservative that good teams can simply run blitz AP and force the Vikings to beat them with the pass. Teddy Bridgewater (25-36, 335 yards TD) actually played great in this game but the Vikings simply switched to pass mode too late and made a stupid decision to throw late when a field goal would have got them to OT. Outside of Peterson this is still the lowest volume/upside offense for fantasy, unless something dramatically changes in the last few games I’d avoid them for the rest of the year.
The Cards offense looked great in this game and I’d argue that RB David Johnson (19 car. 92 yards, 5 rec. 31 yards) gives them a better chance to win every game than Andre Ellington/Chris Johnson. DJ showed off his skills as a receiver numerous times in this game, although he did stumble on a ball thrown to him in the end zone (which would have turned this from a decent game to a huge one). Assuming Ellington remains out and DJ is healthy for next week he’d be a main target of mine in all formats especially if his price remains somewhat lower than most main carry RBs.
In the passing game both John Brown (4 rec. 78 yards TD) and Michael Floyd (5 rec. 102 yards TD) looked great in this game and both caught long catch and run TDs where they out ran defenders along the sideline. Both are really undervalued right now on most sights considering the offense they play in and both make great value targets going forward.
Studs: John Brown, Michael Floyd, David Johnson
Duds: Stefon Diggs
This game went pretty much exactly as everyone on the planet expected. The Ravens are obviously a joke on offense right now without Joe Flacco. Buck Allen (8 car. 14 yards, 5 rec. 44 yards) continues to be heavily involved in the pass game which is good for his value going forward but against elite teams everyone on this team is a fade.
Russell Wilson (23-32 292 yards 5 TDs) is playing out of his mind right now. He threw 5 more TDs in this game and all 5 of them went to his WRs. With the loss of Lynch and Graham the Seahawks have turned the keys of this offense over to Wilson and you are starting to see exactly how good a pocket passer Wilson really is (and why some people were comparing him to Drew Brees out of college). The Hawks don’t play a real team until week 17 when they meet ARZ so continuing to ride Wilson and this pass game makes a ton of sense. This isn’t the old school conservative Hawks offense of the past few years.
At WR Doug Baldwin (6 rec. 84 yards 2 TDs) and Tyler Lockett (6 rec. 104 yards 2 TDs) both caught multiple TDs in this game and the emergence of Lockett means teams are going to have an even harder time shutting down this pass game. I love everything about Lockett and he saw a ton of field and made a couple of great catches on deep balls (including a 50 yard TD). Both Baldwin and Lockett should be in play for DFS every week from here on in, although I expect Baldwin’s price to rise a lot next week.
Studs: Russell Wilson, Doug Baldwin, Tyler Lockett
Duds: Buck Allen
The Steelers came in and popped the Bengals in this game on both sides of the ball. The big news of course was of the course the fact Andy Dalton got hurt and if he’s out for a while that would seriously downgrade the Bengals on offense. The one thing I’ll say is that while you can blame some of the bad performance from Cincy on AJ McCarron the Pittsburgh defense is playing very well at the moment and again had a couple of big plays in this game. I’d definitely consider their D against weaker opponents from here on out.
With no Andy Dalton and possibly no Tyler Eifert you can expect a bump in targets for AJ Green (6 rec. 132 yards TD) but with teams now also able to shift coverage strictly in his direction getting open will be hard. Green had a huge TD in this game but was semi-shut down afterwards. The lack of an elite QB will make him risky going forward.
Somehow the Steelers put up 33 points in this game and Big Ben didn’t throw a single TD. The Steelers run the ball almost as well as they pass and as I mentioned before their defense simply did some of the heavy lifting in this game. The WRs in this game also got somewhat overshadowed as TE Heath Miller (10 rec. 66 yards) put up 10 catches because of the Bengals pass rush. I don’t expect this to be an every game occurrence but I do expect Miller to keep getting targets and to take away upside from other options like Markus Wheaton (4 rec. 65 yards). All in all, this is still an offense you target every week and one you want to stack for tournaments. Don’t be turned off by one slow game where game flow worked against a huge passing day.
Studs: DeAngelo Williams, AJ Green, Heath Miller
Duds: Jeremy Hill
This game was over before it began. The Falcons as a team have been headed in the wrong direction for some time and fantasy wise it’s finally killed the value on their top two players. Neither Devonta Freeman (12 car. 40 yards) nor Julio Jones (7 rec. 88 yards) had good games this week and both are strictly gpp plays for me from here on out. Jones will surely get a lot of targets the rest of the year but he’s far from a guarantee to have a big game. Matt Ryan (22-34, 224 yards, INT) turned the ball over multiple times again in this game and looks completely un able to run this offense let alone produce any big fantasy days anytime soon. This is an offense to avoid from here on out as any hope of a turnaround seems hopeless at this point.
The Panthers just keep rolling. Cam Newton (15-21, 265 yards 3 TDs) keeps delivering the ball where he needs to and he connected with Ted Ginn (2 rec. 120 yards 2 TDs) on two deep TDs in this game against a pretty decent Falcons secondary. Ginn’s obviously on a hot streak but week to week he’s still only getting a few targets every game and obviously won’t catch two TDs every game. Be careful chasing points here with Ginn.
Jonathan Stewart (10 rec. 75 yards TD) was on his way to a massive game after getting 50 yards and a TD in the first drive. Then he got a mild foot injury and sat out the second half since the Panthers were up so much. Very frustrating for fantasy but Stewart is someone I’d stay on in upcoming weeks, if he’s healthy. He’s been running great for some time and in closer games will be needed more to run out the clock.
Studs: Ted Ginn, Cam Newton
Duds: ATL Falcons
I can’t even begin to explain how lucky the people who used Marcus Mariota (21-39 274 yards INT, 1 rec. 41 yards TD) got this week got. This was a bad matchup for Mariota and he’s struggled all season against better defenses. 3 Q’s into this game it was a blowout and Mariota hadn’t done anything. Then he lined up as a WR, the Titans ran a wildcat snap and the corner covering him fell down. One 40-yard CATCH later and Mariota had 11 more fantasy points than he should have. I love the talent on Mariota but suggest you don’t take this game as an example that you can play him against tough D’s. He struggled in this game and will against other above average teams.
I love the passing game of the Jets and they have truly been one of the most consistent offenses for fantasy. Bilal Powell (3 car. 36 yards, 5 rec, 46 yards TD) keeps seeing more and more snaps as the Jets become less run based. Powell has caught a couple TDs in the last few weeks and caught another one in this game. You have to respect him as a fantasy play from here on out as he’s now established himself as the de facto third option in the pass game. In games where the Jets are behind he will play a ton.
AT QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (21-36, 263 yards 3 TDs, 3 car. 23 yards) has been one of the best cheap options at QB for use in DFS the past few weeks and has benefitted greatly from the great WRs and weapons the Jets have surrounded him with. Fitz isn’t only playing great but he also gives you the added benefit of an extra 20-30 yards rushing every week which adds up really fast. He didn’t do anything special in this game but once again got the ball in the hands of his playmakers, for cash games he might be the best play price wise from here on out as the Jets push for the playoffs.
One last thing, don’t be afraid to target the Titans secondary. They are falling apart and have allowed 3 or more passing TDs in their last three games.
Studs: Brandon Marshall, Bilal Powell, Ryan Fitzpatrick
Duds: Titans run game, Titans Cornerbacks
This might have been the most meaningless fantasy game of the week. The Denver offense has certainly been a bit better under Brock Osweiler (35-51, 308 yards) but the entire team got exposed this week versus Oakland. Khalil Mack recorded 5 sacks in this game and the Denver RBs recorded a whopping 28 yards rushing on 17 carries. This O-line is not good and to make matters worse Demaryius Thomas (10 rec. 95 yards) had two of the worst drops I’ve seen this year, one which was right near the goal line, and a fumble. No one is playing well on offense for Denver and I have no reason to heavily recommend anyone on their team right now.
None of the Raiders players had big days which isn’t shocking against the elite Broncos D and it just goes to show that playing Denver is basically a reason to avoid/sit the offensive players that are facing them every week. That being said Derek Carr (12-29, 135 yards 2 TDs) still played really well in this game and I love how aggressive the Raiders are in throwing downfield this year. Carr completed only the second TD of the year to a WR against this offense which tells you something both about how well the Denver D has played this season and about how good Carr is playing. The Raiders spread the ball a lot but for a fantasy QB you can count on Carr many weeks to give you at least a shot at a 300/3TD game.
Studs: Raiders D
Duds: every one else
Well you had to figure Todd Gurley (16 car. 140 yards 2 TDs) would pop back up once or twice more before the end of the year. Watching Gurley run I sometimes think how he doesn’t get to 100 yards every game but he’s really been hurt by the complete lack of secondary weapons in STL. Gurley got out in space numerous though in this game and the Rams offensive line allowed him to get to the second level a few times where he’d then just burst by Lions defenders. The talent is undeniable but I’d still be careful in using him against really good teams. The Rams offense and defense are both falling apart and the fact they beat a disinterested and out of it Lions team isn’t a huge feat.
The Lions offense isn’t much better than the Rams. The complete lack of a run game means that their passing game is at least a consideration every week since they project to be passing 40+ times every week. Golden Tate (9 rec. 60 yards 2 TDs) is a definite target from here on out for me as I’m pretty sure Calvin Johnson (1 rec. 16 yards) is less than 100% in health and was barely targeted in this game. Tate has been targeted over 8 times in each of his last 3 games and caught 9 passes and 2 TDs versus the Rams. There’s been no long catch and runs for Tate this season but if you remember back he had some of his best games when Calvin was banged up. I’d venture he’ll keep being a main target down the stretch for the Lions like he was in this game. Definitely keep on him for fantasy.
As far as the Detroit run game goes I keep waiting to see a big game from Ameer Abdullah (7 car. 23 yards, 2 rec. 21 yards) and he keeps disappointing. He once again shared a ton of work with Theo Riddick and Joique Bell in this game and failed to break a big play. Keep an eye to see if his workload increases down the stretch but otherwise keep him in mind only as a complete plug and pray play.
Studs: Todd Gurley, Golden Tate
Duds: Matt Stafford, Calvin Johnson