Week 14 NFL DFS Picks: 2ToN’s Taeks
It’s the beginning of the season-long fantasy football playoffs! It also marks the start of some very tough divisional games going forward. The last month of NFL DFS slates are notoriously tough thanks to the recent changes the NFL has made in scheduling games. Teams will start playing slowball and tighten up their play-styles in preparation for playoff football or to lock up a playoff berth. It’s important to focus on each team’s trend to find the player that might end up being the vital offensive focus due to either player skill or reliability. This is usually when we encounter the high ceiling games for the consistent floor guys, even in bad spots on paper by virtue of team target share. Checking out injuries and depth is also a crucial part in dissecting team’s potential gameplans as some teams may elect to lighten the load of their best players, with the inverse being true for their elite players during a playoff push. Time to make some tough decisions and trust the process! Optimizer – TURN ON!!!
Yes, we’re all aware of how amazing Lamar Jackson has been and how match-up proof he is. It’s still probably going to be a lower scoring game overall for Jackson against an elite Bills pass defense that tends to buckle against the run. I’d rather take my chances with Rodgers against a pliable Redskins secondary that’s allowing the 13th most points to opposing QBs. They’ve been mostly mediocre for the year but generally temper the fantasy production of opposing QBs by virtue of a clock-draining Redskins run offense. That’s a little bit of a concern since both teams are bottom five in offensive pace, but Rodgers has been getting into a rhythm lately with Davante Adams back and an increased redzone efficiency. That’s led to more touchdown passes and less reliance on the running game, which is good news against a Redskins team allowing the T-8th most passing TDs and a 70% RZ scoring percentage in their last 3 games (4th most). Fire up Rodgers in the winter and pray for multiple Lambeau leaps!
What a season it’s been for ol’ Tanny! Who could’ve seen this coming from a disgraced Miami Dolphins QB? Tannehill is the best value QB on the slate by a mile. He ticks all the boxes for a proper value QB.
- Facing a bad defense (31st DVOA overall)
- Can live off the play-action (26th DVOA OAK run D, 4th best QBR off play-action)
- High YPA (highest YPA among eligible QBs!)
- Priced well below his production
It’s almost a no-brainer value QB play that potentially could be one of the highest owned QBs we’ve ever seen on a slate at a position that normally never has anyone >20% for the most part. His price is quite befuddling to me and perhaps Derrick Henry could vulture a bunch of TDs, Tannehill’s floor and potential ceiling in a smash match-up that looms large for a playoff berth are too much for me to quibble over. Play the man!
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Brissett is facing a run-funnel Tampa Bay defense (1st run defense DVOA) that’s actually more of a legitimate run defense than simply being a bad pass defense and/or skewed game situations. That should (hopefully) force the Colts into more passing situations despite the return of Marlon Mack from his hand injury. That’s obviously going to be a boon to Brissett’s fantasy ceiling, provided that Brissett is capable of going behind his awful 24th lowest YPA. Much of the low YPA can be attributed to a conservative Colts run offense that’s been missing several field stretchers for extended periods of time. While Hilton is expected to miss yet another game, Parris Campbell (one of the aforementioned field stretchers) is fully expected to return to the lineup. That’s great news for Brissett’s prospects against a Bucs pass defense that’s given up the T-7th most explosive pass plays (20+ yards). No wonder the Bucs have also surrendered the 2nd most passing yards to opposing QBs. If there ever was a time for the Brissett truthers to bang the table for him, this is it. It’s the smashest of all smash spots. Will he actually succeed? I’m not entirely sure despite his great pocket numbers (T-11th QBR kept clean) against an average Bucs pass rush. I’ll temper my expectations and only adjust the volatility on Brissett with a 30 since his projections seem more in-line for the good but not great Brissett game scenarios. Gotta boost up that ceiling game a bit!
No, the Ron Rivera firing does not change anything. No, there is no point in fading CMC. No, you’re not being cute and big braining it by fading him. You are wasting your time if you’re trying to convince yourself otherwise. Play the man and step away from the computer. STEP. AWAY. AND. ACCEPT. YOUR. TWENTY. POINTS!
Yeah, his price really has jumped up lately. Hard to ignore his recent production though (188, 159, 149 rushing yards last 3) in a gorgeous match-up against a mediocre OAK run defense. He’s been a machine for the Titans and continues to rack up TDs at a CMC-esque pace (5 TDs last 3, 11 on the season). Oakland’s been around the middle as far as run defense goes, but they’ve progressively gotten worse over the past month with a sputtering offense and an abysmal redzone defense (3rd highest % of redzone opportunities allowed). The Titans are going to feed Henry 20+ times without a doubt and considering the hot stretch he’s currently on, I wouldn’t risk fading him on an RB slate that’s a little thin at the top with Cook’s uncertainty. Better off paying down at the 4-5k tier or just pull your bitches up and pay for Henry/CMC.
It’s become clear that Brady only has two weapons he trusts on any passing down. That’s Edelman, who continues to get bracketed and slowed down by it, and James White either coming out of the backfield or matched up out wide. Opposing teams have caught on the trend, but that hasn’t slowed down the barrage of targets for either player. White, in particular, has benefited from Brady’s unquestioned trust in the scatback, coming off his best game to date with 14 carries (season-high) for 79 yards and an 8/98/2 receiving line on 11 targets (also season-high). White isn’t normally known for his rushing prowess, but he was clearly the Patriots’ best option on the ground with how lethargic Sony Michel has been all season. If White can simply register his usual high target games (has games of 10, 9, 9, 8, 7, and 7 targets) then he would already pay off at his price. I’m mostly banking on a bad KC run defense (worst graded run defense and most receiving yards allowed to opposing RBs) and Brady’s implicit trust in White. I know the deal with believing in Patriots RBs and how much Belichick likes to torture the fantasy community, but I’m holding steadfast in my belief that the Pats will undeniably give White more deserved run to help aid a floundering offense.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Mark Ingram/Melvin Gordon
Two RBs who don’t have favorable projections but are in good spots to beat their currently negative values. Ingram obviously suffers from a fairly competitive RBBC that also has Lamar Jackson to fend off for touches. He’s still one of the Ravens’ main cogs in redzone scoring with 36 redzone opportunities (32 carries) and converting those into 11 TDs. Not bad! That would rank him 11th best among RBs in RZ opportunities, so while the lack of any game over 15 carries is concerning, Ingram (and the Ravens to a lesser extent) always seems to put himself in scoring position. Against an elite BUF pass defense, I expect the Ravens to fully focus on their elite run attack and take advantage of a Bills 22nd DVOA run defense that likely would have allowed yet another 100+ yard rusher had the Cowboys not shot themselves in the foot. Before the Cowboys game, the Bills defense had given up 100+ total rushing yards in 5 of their 7 games since their bye. It seems like a good shot for Ingram’s chances at a TD or two.
Then you have Melvin Gordon on the other end of the spectrum, receiving 20+ touches in 3 of his last 4 games (17 in the other) with a much higher snap percentage. However, he’s had to deal with a historically inept Chargers offense that just can’t seem to put together consistent drives. He’s not even in danger of ceding touches or snaps to his fellow RBs like Austin Ekeler, as the duo actually sees the field together more often than not. He’ll be facing a Jaguars run defense that’s now bottoming out (31st DVOA) with the 4th most rushing yards and 3rd most rushing TDs allowed to opposing RBs. The Jags are also allowing the 3rd most explosive run plays (20+), a trend that’s continued to plague the defense from Week 1. It’s all coming together for a 200 yard El Gordo game!
I’m putting a 20 boost on Ingram and a 10 on Gordon then letting the rest of the optimizer figure itself out. No volatility here since I think both RBs generally hit their average projected points for the most part as solid floor RBs and the 20 boosts should be able to grab enough equity in the lineups.
This shouldn’t come as a surprise if you actually read the top QB play. As the great Drewby always says, “STACK THE QB YOU BLITHERING IDIOT!!!”. Adams has now seen 32 targets over the past 3 games, with 9 of those coming in the redzone. That’s a massive number on both ends and a big reason why I love him against a porous WAS secondary. He’ll get the pick of the litter among the miscreants that attempt to cover him since Adams lines up all over the field. He’ll likely avoid Quinton Dunbar, Washington’s only reliable coverage guy, and get lined up against roasted turkey Jimmy Moreland more often than not. No, that wasn’t an intended pun…..or was it? Either way, there isn’t much to not like about Adams’ match-up and his glorious, glorious target share.
Yeesh. Talk about a brutal WR slate if you’re looking for value. They’re mostly cash options with a few GPP stabs (Campbell? Diontae? Davis?). Crowder may be coming off an inconceivable 2/8/0 on 9 targets against the pitiful Bengals, but he did have a great 3 game stretch before the last two duds, putting up an 18/260/3 stat-line on 23 targets. One of those games was against the Dolphins (8/83/1), and I expect a similar outcome once again since Miami continues to struggle against feisty slot receivers. While Miami has fought valiantly over the past month and shut up all the talking heads who disrespected Flores’ coaching, they’re still a really, really bad pass defense. Most TDs allowed, T-4th most explosive pass plays, 32nd DVOA pass defense, and a slot coverage that’s almost as bad as Pittsburgh. Robby Anderson is a viable candidate as a value play, but I think Crowder is the safer, higher floor pick with the better match-up (if there ever was such a thing against Miami). Not a slam dunk by any means but considering the state of the value WRs, you could do worse.
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Yet another negative value by the optimizer! Sutton has been tremendous as a WR despite inconsistent play from the Broncos’ QB carousel. He’s 6th in YPR/R, 15th in air yards, owns a 25% MS/T, has 13 redzone targets (29% MS/T in RZ), and is just an all-around BAD-ASS! Sutton will face a Texans secondary that’s generally been picked apart by competent QBs that don’t fall into the Texans chew clock trap. They rank as the 7th worst graded secondary with a 25th DVOA, giving Sutton some real nice juicy match-ups on paper. Drew Lock showed the most promise among the Denver QBs despite a paltry 4.8 YPA and completing 18 passes for 134 withering yards. He showed juice on the ball, had good pocket movement, and seemed to have early chemistry with Sutton (2 TD catches). That’s good, indeed. Not much else to add on here on a brutal WR slate, but all signs point to another positive Sutton game. Boost him up with a 10 and pop a 20 volatility since he’s largely been a solid floor guy with a few high ceiling games.
Outside of Kelce, Waller has to be the undisputed top TE play on the slate. And I only mention Kelce because he’s been the most consistent TE this year so he always deserves some recognition even in bad match-ups on paper. Waller will get a Titans defense that’s been shellacked by opposing TEs for the majority of the season. They’ve seen the 9th most targets to opposing TEs, allowing the 9th most yards and T-4th most TDs. That’s mainly due to the Titans preventing big plays over top (12th fewest explosive pass plays). Waller continues to be peppered with targets (27 targets last 4) and has had to play more slot duty lately due to Renfrow’s injury. That should continue as Renfrow is expected out. That boosts Waller’s floor and ceiling since Carr will continue to rely on him and his 3rd highest YPR/R among TEs. It also could be the game to snap Waller’s 5 game streak of no touchdowns, as the Titans’ redzone defense has been an issue all season with the 3rd highest % of touchdowns allowed in the RZ. FEED THE MAN!
ALL IN BABY!!!! Guess who’s leading all TEs in slot routes ran? GESICKI! Guess who’s leading all TEs in air yards? Okay, it’s not Gesicki but he’s 7th overall and 4th highest since the Dolphins’ Week 5 bye. The point I’m making here is Gesicki has been a legitimate TE option over the past few months behind the grizzly bearded Ryan Fitzpatrick’s rubber band arm. Gesicki’s seen 26 targets over his last four games and finally saw a few redzone targets. The Jets have been somewhat average against TEs but that’s not what we really care about now, is it? The potential of a 6+ target game from a TE that’s actually running deeper routes and has a significant size advantage on the Jets slot defenders is what we’re looking for here. He’s filling in the hole left by Preston Williams and eating up all the missing targets when Williams went on IR. Will it be three straight games with a TD for ole Gesicki? I SAY YES!!!! Roster with confidence!
BOOST ‘EM UP!
Not really advocating Thomas here nor will I actually touch his projections, but I think it’s telling that Thomas was essentially playing slot duty when Greg Olsen had to leave the game. He ran 25 routes in the slot (nearly 90% of his route) and saw 4 targets for 24 hapless yards, but did come in 2nd for slot routes run among TEs. He was ahead of Gesicki as well, which tells me that maybe the Panthers don’t mind giving Thomas the same kind of workload that Greg Olsen had gotten before. That’s good news against a beatable Falcons LB unit. Just reading the tea leaves here really, but it’s quite interesting. Quite, quite interesting. Interesting enough to add a boost? Probably not, but still interesting. Hmm…