NFL DFS Week 14 AutoMattek Absolutes
Times have changed in DFS. When I first started writing the AutoMattek Absolutes six years ago, cash games were all anyone wanted to talk about. A majority of players considered themselves cash game grinders and tournaments were secondary to the 50/50’s, head to heads and double-ups.
That is no longer the case. Tournaments are the primary source of discussion and interest for both the casual and serious DFS players. As such, the content has to evolve with time. Throughout the 2019 NFL season, the AutoMattek Absolutes will be a hybrid GPP strategy/individual plays highlight column to help you get prepared for the Sunday main slate of tournaments.
The Laird Has Risen
If you have been under a rock for the last week, you probably do not know that NFL DFS is about to get very easy in Week 14.
Alright, I promise that the bit is over now. We are only going to discuss Patrick Laird vs the other salary saving running backs in a serious way. The first thing to note is: there probably are not going to be that many cheap running backs. LeSean McCoy and Darwin Thompson are going to be popular options at $4,400 and $4,100 but they play against the New England Patriots on the road and the touch distribution there is random. Darwin has only played over 10 snaps in one game and it was last week’s blowout against the Oakland Raiders. Meanwhile, LeSean McCoy has only touched the ball 14 or more times in three games. He has also been rested for a week due to load management and head coach Andy Reid said after the Raiders game that “I am not stupid, I know how old he is and that we have to manage him.”
So that is one brand of uncertainty. The Chiefs have not run the ball well this year and have done most of their damage through the air. On the other hand, the Miami Dolphins have REALLY not run the ball well at all. Kalen Ballage was having the worst running back season in NFL history (74 carries and 1.6 yards per carry) and our hero, Patrick Laird has seen his snaps jump each of the last four games. Over the last four Dolphins games, he has gone: 8, 16, 23 and then 43 snaps with Kalen Ballage out injured.
Myles Gaskin is going to get his chance in this game against the Jets but Laird likely has the role that we view as important: the passing down role for the Dolphins who are underdogs in this game against the Jets. If Laird simply retains his passing-down role and his 10.5% market share of targets from last week, he is one of the better cheap plays of the week.
If we get any sort of indication from Brian Flores that Laird is going to see extra work or that Gaskin is going to start or even if De’Lance Turner could play some passing downs, that would alter the Daily Roto projection and how much I would use him. Of course, as it sits now, I just want to jam the LOCK button Laird in my mass-multi entry teams but if I am not being a disingenuous tout, I would simply state this: Laird is a very good salary relief play if he just plays the snaps that he played last week. Anything else is gray
The Saints Came Marching Down (To Our Lineups)
Mike Thomas game logs this year:
This man is on pace to set the NFL record for catches in a season and might actually break his OWN RECORD for catch rate on over 100 targets in an NFL season again. Thomas has an aDOT of 7.7 yet has a catch rate north of 85%. I don’t care if Thanos is going to be in shadow coverage on him. Not only is Thomas a lock in cash games, but he and an under-priced Alvin Kamara are going to be staples of MME builds as well.
Drew Brees is priced down at $5,900 due to the “tough” matchup against the San Francisco 49ers yet the Saints team total of 23.5 is more than enough to justify these guys as a stack. The 50th percentile DR projections do not like this stack near as much as I do but I think that is to be expected. The Saints have a lower total than we would expect at home and the 49ers Defense has been good at limiting completions this year. That being said, I still expect Brees and these groups to make a good chunk of my MME runs.
What is even better about Brees runs is that the 49ers offense has finally started to concentrate enough to be stacked in large-field GPP’s. Dante Pettis is not playing any snaps and the secondary wide receivers have fallen far behind Sanders and Deebo.
It is always uncomfortable to target top defenses and it certainly went poorly when we ran Dak + Amari against the New England Patriots but I do have enough belief in the math that elite offenses are better than elite defenses to continue to deploy the strategy. The triple Brees/Kamara/Thomas stack is going to be so low-owned relative to their baseline that I can’t believe it is a bad move.
Imagine Stacking Chalk Tannehill
Actually, imagine it. Tannehill has been great since taking over the starting job from Marcus Mariota and has scored the 5th most fantasy points per game over that time frame at the QB position. However, this volume is suspect, the passing offense is extremely non-concentrated between AJ Brown, Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Jonnu Smith. Early indications are that Tannehill is going to be a popular selection and I just cannot get on board.
Kirk Cousins with at least one of Diggs/Thielen is my favorite “off board” stack but DeShaun Watson with Will is undeniably interesting in a low-owned spot and DeAndre Hopkins drawing shadow coverage. Jameis and his twin towers will be popular but will certainly make my player pool over Tannehill and Brown/Davis. Even Jacoby Brissett with Pascal and/or Jack Doyle makes a more intriguing tournament construction for me than playing Tannehill.