DFS Player Pool Week 13
Not much to say here. This will be the 2nd to last weird main slate left this season (why do we have 3 Saturday games in Week 16?) and we are entering the time of year when people will have holiday cash to burn, and no fantasy prospects as playoffs begin. So be smart in your constructions and think through the chalk and your exposure to it. Anyway, onto this week’s DFS player pool.
Patrick Mahomes, $7,400, vs. OAK
In a smaller main slate this week, the top end QB picks are all loaded with risk. It might seem lazy to plop the QB1 here, but he really is the best bet. Still, even Patrick Mahomes comes with some minor blemishes on his otherwise sterling fantasy record. This has been a tough year for him; dealing with an injured knee and a lack of consistency from his teammates. Coming off his bye week, Mahomes has had more time to rest and it should benefit him in this matchup.
The division rival Oakland Raiders present a nice opportunity for the Chiefs. The Raiders allow the third-most points per game to QBs, which is fueled by their 3rd worst pressure percentage. Oakland simply has not replaced the consistent pass rush presence of Khalil Mack. Even after two solid recent games against the Cincinnati Bengals and Los Angeles Chargers, they remain a plus QB matchup. Of their last 6 opponents, 4 have posted a top 4 QB finish or better. In their last 8 games, only Ryan Finley failed to pass for at least 2 TDs. Mahomes should have no problem with a team against whom he has a career 10:1 TD to INT ratio.
Jameis Winston, $6,300, @ JAX
Fantasy players don’t need to love the players they use, just the numbers they produce. Winston has a healthy lead in INTs this season, but that is offset by 2nd most passing attempts. The passing volume has driven his value way up. Jameis had a slow start the first 2 weeks this season, but since then he has scored less than 21.1 points once. The Jaguars haven’t been a super QB friendly defense, ranking 12th in points per game allowed to QBs, but Winston has made that metric almost pointless. From Week 3 on Winston scored below his opponent’s PPG number twice, against the New Orleans Saints in Week 5 and the Arizona Cardinals in Week 10. He is almost assured 20+ points in this game and should have little resistance hitting value at this price.
Nick Foles, $5,700, vs. TB
Opposite from Jameis Winston is this week’s value pick. In his two games he finished for the Jags, Foles has been solid. The fantasy numbers aren’t quite up to preseason expectations, but he hasn’t been the reason Jacksonville has lost. His 284 yards per game the last two weeks would be 7th in the league and is a 4,544-yard pace. His connection with D.J. Chark gives him a WR1 target, and even though Tampa is very tough against the run, Fournette is a reliable part of the passing offense. Add in a healthy Dede Westbrook and Chris Conley, and Foles has a solid set of weapons for this game.
A high volume of passes is almost a given with the defensive profiles of both these teams. Tampa has allowed 24 more passing attempts than the next highest total. As mentioned above, Winston is almost a matchup-proof, guaranteed 300/2/1 floor. Foles will need to pass successfully for Jacksonville to have a chance. Luckily Tampa’s pass defense remains one of the easiest QB assignments in the league. They are second in passing yardage allowed, passing TDs, completions, and opponent air yards. In this week’s main slate, only Lamar Jackson has a higher per game scoring average than the average QB against Tampa Bay.
Christian McCaffrey, $10,500, @ WAS
Yes, until his price drops (not likely to happen anytime soon as long as he’s healthy) CMC gets his own section. He’s that much of an outlier this season. McCaffrey’s 2019 game log is so good that using him is really only a question of lineup construction rather than whether he is a good play. The answer is the same every week. If you feel confident in the value plays for that week, and using him won’t ruin your rosters, then he should be used. Washington is a top 10 RB matchup so there is as little doubt as possible for a floor and ceiling.
Josh Jacobs, $6,900, @ KC
There is little left for Jacobs to prove in his rookie season. Prior to traveling to New York to face a very solid New York Jets defense, Jacobs had three straight games of either 100+ rushing yards, a TD, or both. A bad result against the Jets should have been anticipated; they are currently the 2nd best rush defense by DVOA per Football Outsiders. A road date against the very vulnerable Kansas City rush defense is a solid cure for RB fantasy ailments. Opposing backs have been dunking on the Chiefs all year, with 7 different backs totaling 100+ yards rushing or receiving. Jacobs himself hit 99 yards rushing way back in Week 2. On 12 carries.
Now without the injury designation for the rematch against KC, Jacobs is ready to pop again vs. the Chiefs in what is one of the most enduring rivalries in the NFL. The Chiefs’ bye week was well-timed, allowing Mahomes more time to rest. Even accounting for this being the second meeting for these two, Las Vegas opened this game total at 54.5. Even with that line moving down, it remains the highest total of the week. The Raiders will want to ball control as much as possible, meaning Jacobs should be in line for way more than 12 carries this time around.
Derrick Henry, $7,600, @ IND
Henry falls into the Riskier category again this week, even after lighting up the Jaguars’ rush defense for 32.5 points. There are some competing factors here. Henry’s past history always lurks when evaluating his fantasy prospects in the double-digit weeks. That’s too weird to be a truly predictive thing, but still, it’s there. Just like Henry’s talent. The Titans have looked like a playoff team since Ryan Tannehill got rolling, and Henry has been a huge part of that. In the last three weeks, he has averaged 31.2 points. That’s one point less per game in his last three than CMC and for almost $3,000 less (this week). But Indy has allowed one top 10 RB finish since Henry in Week 2, and that was more due to Jaylen Samuels’ 13 receptions. No single RB has totaled more than 88 yards rushing against them this year. Henry’s ceiling is tempting, but at this price, he’s more of a cash play. Enjoy the high floor, but manage expectations.
Ronald Jones II, $5,100, @ JAX
In his 4 starts as the starting RB for Tampa Bay, Jones has returned value 3 out of 4 times. The workload has been inconsistent, but for DFS he’s been solid. He keeps a very reasonable price tag for the starting RB of a high powered offense and should again cruise past 3X ROI this weekend against Jacksonville. The Jaguars have now allowed 4 RBs to rush for over 100 yards in their last three games; that includes Derrick Henry’s 159/2 line last week. That stretch of RB dominance has pushed them to 4th in rush yards allowed/game, but also the league’s highest yards/attempt number at 5.4. Jones should experience little resistance against them this weekend.
Phillip Lindsay, $5,000, vs. LAC
Value at the RB position is hard to come by down the price list. Lindsay is one of the cheapest “starters” available. Over the last few weeks, Royce Freeman has seen his snaps fall in a downward trend, while Lindsay had a season-high 54 snaps in Week 11 and a near-even split with Freeman in Week 12. Assuming Lindsay continues that trend and is the more utilized back against the Chargers, he is primed for a very good fantasy day.
Before last week’s game against the Chiefs, the Chargers had gone 6 straight weeks allowing a top 12 RB day. That streak was started by Lindsay back in the Broncos’ first game against the Chargers in Week 5. Since that game, LA allowed a total of 9 TDs to RBs. Chasing TDs is a fool’s errand, but this is a solid place to start looking. With Drew Lock potentially starting his first career NFL game Sunday, relying on the run game should be key to the Broncos’ success. Lindsay has also shown himself to be a solid receiver, so game script alone shouldn’t be what keeps his touches down. He’s a risky play with his low overall workload, but he’s a good bet at this price to be worth rostering.
Mike Evans, $6,900, @ JAX
It’s time for another round of Buccaneers WR roulette! Just as the fantasy community was back on the Evans bandwagon, he reverted back to the inconsistent enigma of the early part of the season. In his 3 game stretch from Weeks 6-9 (not including a Week 7 bye), Evans averaged 15 targets/game and 35.1 points/game. Then, last week in a solid matchup against the Atlanta Falcons, Chris Godwin exploded while Evans fell flat. He is still 2nd in targets and 3rd in receiving yards, TDs, and red zone targets. Meaning, despite the up and down production, he is still one of the best WR options in the game.
His skills will be put to use in a very good matchup against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Overall, Jacksonville is a middle of the pack pass defense. Compared to the rest of the league, the Jags have been most susceptible to wide right WRs. That just so happens to be where Evans primarily aligns. In a game that could shoot out, this game opened with the second-highest total on the main slate, Evans is set to return to top-dog status. For at least a week.
D.J. Chark, $6,600, vs. TB
Over on the other sideline, Chark pairs nicely with QB Nick Foles in a potentially uptempo game. Chark is in the middle of a second-year breakout and is one week removed from a 15 target game. Realistically, even if Chark didn’t look like a future fantasy mainstay, his opponent would dictate some exposure. Tampa has turned opposing WRs into Pro Bowlers all season. In their last 4 games, 5 different WRs have had top 5 finishes, including two top WR weeks to Christian Kirk and Tyler Lockett. The Buccaneers are second in the league in receiving yards and TDs allowed as well as air yards. With as strong a pass funnel defense as they have been, their results have not been a fluke. They are a bad pass defense and have put up very bad days. Expect one more against Jacksonville.
Jarvis Landry, $6,400, @ PIT
This should be a nice, drama-free affair on Sunday. Honestly, even if it ends up being a perfectly normal game, the viewer fatigue will set in early as announcers kill the dead horse that is the Myles Garrett/Mason Rudolph showdown from Week 11. Boring can be good too, sometimes, like in the case of Jarvis Landry vs. teammate Odell Beckham Jr. Landry will never draw the same kind of coverage from the media or opposing secondaries as OBJ and is fine. It allows savvy DFS players to cash in on solid matchups.
Over the last 5 games, Landry has averaged 10+ targets while hitting 3X ROI 3 out of 5 times. He has scored in 4 straight and is 2nd in the league in red-zone targets with 16. He is almost tripling up Beckham in that metric (16 vs. 6) and has been much more consistent for Cleveland. The Steelers, meanwhile, have given up the majority of their WR points to the slot. Pittsburgh doesn’t shadow cover anyone, but their top CB, Joe Haden, will likely see more of OBJ outside than anyone else. With the Steelers’ ability to pressure the QB, Landry figures to have a more prominent role as an outlet for Baker Mayfield than other receiving options. Plug-in Landry and hope for one more solid week at a discounted rate compared to Beckham.
Tyler Boyd, $5,500, vs. NYJ
Is Tyler Boyd on the verge of a return to fantasy dominance? Perhaps. The combination of Andy Dalton returning as the starting QB for the Bengals, and the Jets pass defense coming to town is a nice duo of positive factors. Boyd looked like a real star at times last year, filling in admirably as the WR1 when A.J. Green had his annual multi-game absence. That work was mostly with Dalton under center. Boyd has been much better with Dalton than other options:
Getting WR13 production from a WR outside of the top 20 in terms of pricing is a solid value, regardless of the player. His profile looks good without even mentioning his matchup.
The New York Jets operate as a strong pass funnel, ranking 2nd in rush defense DVOA compared to 17th for pass defense. They are in the bottom half of the league in several categories, including WR targets and receptions, total passing yards, passing yards per game, and are tied for 2nd in WR receiving TDs. Game script for this should still be negative, leaving Cincinnati in a position to throw a lot in the second half. Locking in the top WR option across from them is a solid play.
Sterling Shepard, $4,900, vs. GB
With a full game under his belt since returning from a lingering bout of concussion symptoms, Shepard is a solid value this week. Last week’s result against the Chicago Bears, 5 catches for 15 yards on 9 targets, isn’t great but the usage was solid. He led the team in targets and should be fed again against a Green Bay Packers team looking to rebound from an ugly loss to the San Francisco 49ers. This time around, it looks like the Giants will be without Evan Engram and Golden Tate. The Packers only allow 31.6 points per game total to WRs, but D.J. Moore and Mike Williams both went 100+ receiving against them recently. With Darius Slayton the only real WR threat to contend with, Shepard should be a good value option.
Darren Waller, $5,500, @ KC
No big surprise here. Waller is the top receiving option for Oakland and a major focal point for a lot of what the Raiders offense likes to do. He has slowed down significantly since his outstanding performance against the Green Bay Packers back in Week 7. In fact, he’s only scored in double digits once since then. With the state of the TE position this year, his ceiling puts him firmly in play most weeks. He could see early season targets numbers with Hunter Renfrow having already been ruled out.
Seeing an increase in targets would be huge, considering the Chiefs’ defense against TEs. They rank sixth in yards allowed and points per game. Those numbers could be even higher if not for low TD numbers. The Chiefs are 2nd in TE targets allowed and 1st in receptions, something to strongly consider in the full PPR DraftKings scoring. Just remember, it’s TE so nothing is guaranteed.
Ryan Griffin, $4,300, @ CIN
Griffin stays in play after yet another double-digit scoring day. He has made a nice role for himself on this team and is just about a week removed from signing a 3-year extension to stay with the team. This week he gets just a $100 salary increase against another bad defense. Cincinnati has done relatively well against TEs, only surrendering 11.8 points per game, but have been hurt lately. Darren Waller and Mark Andrews just posted top-4 finishes against them. Even Dawson Knox had a 3/67/1 line against them back in Week 3. When teams that utilize their TEs play Cincinnati, good things happen.
Tyler Higbee, $2,500, @ ARI
Finally, a clear cut minimum priced entry with a reasonable floor. Arizona has been a matchup blessing for several players this year. But few teams have done as much for opposing TEs as the Cardinals have this year. Still leading the league in points per game allowed by a decent margin, at 21.4, the Cards have been dispensing fantasy points like [favorite Thanksgiving side dish] at Thanksgiving. DFS player pools will be lousy with Higbee since Gerald Everett has been ruled out. Everyone wants a piece of the defense that just allowed 17.4 points to Ross Dwelley. That is still only the 7th best TE score the Cards have allowed. Get yourself some Higbee exposure everywhere CMC makes an appearance and enjoy.