New Orleans Saints @ Atlanta Falcons
Projected Vegas Score: Falcons 26.25, Saints 25.25
Quarterbacks- The juiciest game of week 14 falls on Thursday and we might actually get a decent Thursday night game for once. Matt Ryan has eclipsed 300 yards just 3 times this season and his ceiling has seemingly been erased this year. Marshon Lattimore is questionable, and if he can’t go then that would be a big boost for Ryan and the Falcons offense, but not enough for me to use him in anything other than a large field GPP. Drew Brees has played better on the road this season than in the past and is in play for tournaments against a Falcons defense that ranks 19th in pass-defense DVOA in an expected shootout.
Running Backs- Mark Ingram is questionable after missing practice again on Wednesday and that is news that would completely alter the slate. If Ingram is in, I have no problem using him and Kamara together and just locking in all of the Saints RB touches given how good they have both been. But, if Ingram is out that makes Alvin Kamara a virtual must-play in all formats. He’s leading the charge for offensive rookie of the year and it’s incredible to watch him play. Devonta Freeman returned from injury last week and looked good, but Steve Sarkisian seems committed to keeping it a timeshare between him and Tevin Coleman. Both are just GPP options for me for that reason, and I prefer Ingram/Kamara to both of them.
Wide Receivers- Michael Thomas is in a great spot this week as he should avoid Desmond Trufant on the majority of his routes. Thomas has been better on the road throughout his short NFL career and he is the preferred stacking option with Drew Brees. Ted Ginn has been solid this season, but he will see the most of Trufant’s coverage and that eliminates him from my pool. Julio Jones will benefit if Marshon Lattimore is ruled out, but even if he plays he is a great option as always. The Saints secondary is improved, but a hobbled Lattimore will still struggle to cover Julio and he fits perfect with a game stack. Mohamed Sanu is the other Falcons wideout to consider in GPPs.
Overall Outlook- I rarely recommend having a ton of exposure to the Thursday game but this game is too good to resist. Kamara/Ingram are my favorites followed by Julio and Mike Thomas.
San Francisco 49ers @ Houston Texans
Projected Vegas Score: Texans 23.25, 49ers 20.25
Quarterbacks- This is one of my favorite tournament spots of the week snd I’m really hoping he flies under the radar. Jimmy Garappolo looked great in his first start for the 49ers. Yes, it only translated to 11 fantasy points, but if you watch the game you know how efficient he was. The Bears have a formidable defense, and JimmyG looked great against them on the road. Now he draws the Houston Texans who have allowed 23 passing touchdowns and rank 15th in pass-defense DVOA. They have been even worse over the last 3 weeks, and give the pace that the 49ers play and how banged up the Texans are this is a GREAT GPP spot. Tom Savage is pretty much never going to be in DFS consideration based on his knack to turn the ball over, but the 49ers rank 30th in pass-defense DVOA. I’m not using Savage…but there is a Texan I’m especially interested in.
Running Backs- Carlos Hyde has seen 19+ touches in each of the last 4 weeks. I’m not in love with him, but given the amount of consistent work he is seeing and his role in the passing game he is in play for tournaments. Lamar Miller has seen 20+ touches in each of the last 3 weeks and has taken over as a workhorse since D’Onta Foreman went on IR. The 49ers rank 20th in run-defense DVOA, but the majority of the big fantasy production they have given up has been in 2 games- against Zeke Elliot and Todd Gurley. If you take out those two games, their run-defense isn’t as bad and they haven’t given up any monster games. They shut down Jordan Howard last week though the game script killed him and he is one of the most game script dependent running backs in the NFL. Miller is a GPP option on Sunday.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Marquise Goodwin hauled in 8 of 8 targets for 99 yards on Sunday and looked to be on the same page as his new QB. Normally a deep threat, Goodwin piled up targets and should be able to expose a Texans secondary that has struggled against fast wideouts this season. DeAndre Hopkins has been one of the best WRs in all of football this season and hasn’t been hurt by Savage’s mediocre Quarterback play. The 49ers have one of the worst secondaries in the NFL and Nuk is going to absolutely abuse them on Sunday. The last person I want to mention is a GPP play by the name of Stephen Anderson. C.J. Fiedorowicz will likely miss this game with another concussion, and with Will Fuller and Bruce Ellington both likely out (monitor news) he will see a load of targets once again. Anderson was good in college and is a SPARQ guy with big-play ability. He racked up 12 targets without all this guys last week, and Savage needs someone to throw to not named DeAndre Hopkins.
Overall Outlook- This game is sneaky fantasy relevant with Hopkins being a top play in all formats. I also like the idea of a game stack with JimmyG-Goodwin-Hopkins.
Green Bay Packers @ Cleveland Browns
Projected Vegas Score: Packers 22, Browns 18.5
Quarterbacks- Brett Hundley was a massive disappointment in week 13 throwing for just 84 yards and 0 touchdowns. He did add 66 yards on the ground, but it wasn't enough to save his day in fantasy. The Browns defense is bad, and Hundley has been better on the road in his starts but it's hard to have much confidence in him after he laid an egg in a supreme matchup last week. DeShone Kizer is a tournament option this week at home against a Packers team that ranks 21st in pass-defense DVOA and just lost Kevin King for the remainder of the season. Kizer, like Hundley, has a solid rushing floor and has actually put up 20+ fantasy points 2 of the last 4 weeks.
Running Backs- Jamal Williams saw the big workload again last week for the Packers, racking up 23 touches, 123 total yards and a touchdown. Aaron Jones only touch of the game was a touchdown run in overtime and I expect Jones to be back in the mix more this week being healthy. The Browns run-defense has crumbled in recent weeks due to injuries, but given that they should see a timeshare they are both just GPP fliers. Isaiah Crowell is having a disaster of a season in a contract year, and Hue Jackson refuses to give Duke Johnson a solid workload of touches. Thus eliminating them from consideration for me.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Davante Adams was another huge disappointment, but he still saw 6 targets and Hundley missed him on an easy touchdown pass. He along with Randall Cobb are in play for GPPs, but I'm not in love with any GB player. Josh Gordon looked like he hadn't missed a beat after not stepping onto an NFL field for a real game since 2014. He should feast on this Packers secondary, as long as Kizer can make the throws. The other Browns pass catcher I'm interested in is David Njoku. He clearly has potential to be an elite Tight End one day, and his snap count and involvement in the offense has been growing each week. He scored on the Chargers last week who have been great against Tight Ends this season and the Packers just gave up 2 touchdowns to Cam Brate who hadn't done anything in months.
Overall Outlook- This game isn't crazy good for fantasy, but I think it's playable in GPPs. Kizer-Gordon is a fine GPP stack and I think Josh Gordon is playable in all formats at his price.
Minnesota Vikings @ Carolina Panthers
Projected Vegas Score: Vikings 21.75, Panthers 19.25
Quarterbacks- This is going to be a great real-life game, but I'm not sure it's a strong fantasy game. Case Keenum has been a revelation for the Vikings this season and has been undervalued for fantasy as well. On the road against top 10 defense in terms of overall DVOA is a tough task though and I will avoid that in DFS. Cam Newton has been up and down all season, but has seen increased fantasy production now that he is running again. The Vikings defense is sick, and I really don't want to target them. Cam can be looked at as a low-owned GPP play.
Running Backs- Latavius Murray and Jerick McKinnon have both been strong over the last few weeks for the Vikings, and we finally saw McKinnon score a red zone touchdown last week. The Panthers defense is good enough that I don't want to really target them, but of the two i definitely prefer McKinnon. Christian McCaffrey has struggled massively to run this season and his entire fantasy year has been contingent on his passing game work. I don't see anyway he will be able to run on the Vikings so it will be the same story, he's a low-owned GPP play in full PPR formats.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Adam Thielen has just been unreal this year, he saw his lowest target amount of the year in week 13 with just 5. Stefon Diggs doesn't look right to me, I think he is still hurt so I'm not going to be looking at him in DFS. Thielen is always in play for me because he is just so good, but he is a better play on Draftkings than Fanduel. Kevin Funchess has seen 6+ targets in every game this season except for week one, and he is the top option once again with Greg Olsen sidelined again. I just can't justify him as a strong play in this matchup, but he is always going to be in play for tournaments.
Overall Outlook- Thielen maybe, Cam maybe, other than that just move on.
Detroit Lions @ Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Projected Vegas Score: N/A
Quarterbacks- There's no line currently listed for this game as we are waiting for news on whether on not Matthew Stafford will play. I'm going to assume he plays because that's what it sounds like out of Detroit, but I really wish it wasn't his throwing hand that is hurt. This spot is amazing for him and the Lions pass catchers, but I don't think I can use him in anything other than tournaments with an injured throwing hand. The Bucs rank 31st in the NFL in pass-defense DVOA and have been shredded all season. Jameis Winston threw for 270 yards and 2 touchdowns against the Packers last week, but still looked rusty coming off that shoulder injury. I would rather attack the Lions on the ground, but he is a GPP option most weeks.
Running Backs- Monitor news on whether or not Ameer Abdullah is going to play this week, if he misses again, that boosts the value of Theo Riddick and Tion Green for week 14. We also need to monitor news on the Bucs backfield after Doug Martin returned to practice on Wednesday. If Martin returns to action this week I think he is a GPP play if we get news he won't be limited. The Lions have allowed a rushing touchdown in 7 straight games and have struggled mightily as of late. If Martin is out again, we can fire up Peyton Barber in all formats who looked great last week and has earned more playing time.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Despite my hesitancy on using Matthew Stafford, I love both Marvin Jones and Golden Tate this week. The Bucs have been slaughtered both on the outside and in the slot, and it's just a fantastic spot for both of them. They're playable in all formats. Mike Evans will see the most of Darius Slay's coverage on Sunday and that really takes me off him after he disappointed in week 13 as well. Desean Jackson is the tournament play I like, as well as Cam Brate. The Lions have been bad against Tight Ends for years now, and Brate has extremely positive splits when Winston is playing compared to his backups.
Overall Outlook- I like the Lions side of this game a lot. I love Jones/Tate and you can even get weird with Golladay in a GPP. If you have the balls to play Stafford in a tournament it wouldn't shock me if he has a big game.
Chicago Bears @ Cincinnati Bengals
Projected Vegas Score: Bengals 22.25, Bears 16.25
Quarterbacks- This is another underwhelming game from a fantasy point-of-view as you can tell by the low 38.5 O/U. Mitchell Trubisky has been used as mainly a game-manager in his rookie season and the matchup with the Bengals secondary is not good. Andy Dalton is continually mediocre in DFS, and he also has a below-average matchup with a Bears defense that ranks 14th in pass-defense DVOA. I'll pass on both this week.
Running Backs- Jordan Howard was a big-time bust in week 13 rushing for just 38 yards on 13 attempts. He has hurt greatly by game-script however, and the Bears ran under 40 offensive plays as a team. However, the Bengals rank 15th in run-defense DVOA so I don't think I will be looking at him this week in a game where the game-script will likely hurt him once again. The top play in this game is Gio Bernard, and he arguably is one of the the top plays on the slate if Joe Mixon is ruled out. Mixon left the game on Monday night with a concussion and after the left Bernard played every single snap. Jeremy Hill is already on IR, so if Mixon can't go that leaves Bernard and rookie Brian Hill. Monitor the news, but if Mixon is out Bernard becomes a top RB play at his price regardless of matchup.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Bears passing game has been pretty inept from a fantasy standpoint for a while now. Due to the fact that Trubisky isn't going to throw the ball a ton, I don't have any interest in any of his pass catchers. A.J. Green is in play for GPPs just because he is AJG. He had a big first half against the Steelers last week, but disappeared in the 2nd half which seems to happen often. Tournaments only.
Overall Outlook- Gio and Green are the only players I'm interested in from this game.
Dallas Cowboys @ New York Giants
Projected Vegas Score: Cowboys 22.75, Giants 18.75
Quarterbacks- The Cowboys should be able to win easily in this game, but we do have the narrative of the Giants playing their first game since Ben McAdoo was fired. Dam Prescott has struggled as of late due to the inconsistency of his offensive line. The matchup with the Giants defense is really good, but I don't like using Quarterbacks on the road in a 2nd divisional game in DFS. The same can be said for Eli Manning, the matchup is good but I'm not sure if I want to use him. You do have the #AngryEli narrative and he could want to really ball out after he was benched last week...GPPs only.
Running Backs- Alfred Morris has been great for the Cowboys in the absence of Zeke despite the injuries on the offensive line. He's a strong tournament play against a Giants defense that is 24th in run-defense DVOA. The Giants run game has been a mess for the majority of the season and right now Orleans Darkwa is carrying on as their main back. I'll pass on that situation.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Dez Bryant can be used in tournaments for the first time in a while against the Giants. Dez has notoriously struggled in Janoris Jenkins' coverage throughout his career, and he will benefit from Jenkins missing this game due to injury. Jason Witten has also perennially smashed the Giants and is in play at his mid tier price tag. The only two pass catchers I would consider for the Giants are Sterling Shepard (Questionable) and Evan Engram. Of the two, I prefer Engram at Tight End who has had a big time rookie year and isn't getting the notoriety he deserves right now. They both will benefit from Eli taking back over at QB.
Overall Outlook- Not a great game but definitely filled with tournament options. Morris, Witten, Engram and then the Quarterbacks.
Oakland Raiders @ Kansas City Chiefs
Projected Vegas Score: Chiefs 25.75, Raiders 21.75
Quarterbacks- It's weird that a divisional game has one of the highest O/U on the slate this week, but these defenses are so bad you cannot ignore the spots. Derek Carr has been pretty consistent since returning fully from his back injury and he has a great matchup with the Chiefs who rank 24th in pass-defense DVOA. He is a strong tournament play along with Alex Smith. After struggling mightily in recent weeks, Smith was reborn in week 13 with Andy Reid no longer calling the plays. Smith threw for 366 yards and 4 touchdowns and now draws the Raiders who are dead-last in pass-defense DVOA. He's viable in all formats.
Running Backs- Marshawn Lynch left the Raiders last game after bursting a huge TD run and he's a GPP option again this week. The Chiefs run defense has been so bad for the latter part of the season and they now rank 30th in run-defense DVOA. I can never trust him in cash game because he isn't seeing a high volume role, but in a high total game against a bad defense he can be considered. Kareem Hunt played a season-high in snaps last weekend but saw under 15 touches again and we just cannot trust him at this point in DFS.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Pretty much all of the main pass catchers for these team are going to be in play given the expected high scoring game and the fact that both defense have been so bad. Michael Crabtree returns from his one game suspension and is a solid play in all formats. Amari Cooper is Questionable, if he ends up playing he is a solid GPP option and if he is out that boosts Crabtree even more. Tyreek Hill has a big history against the Raiders but he also has posted much better games on the road during his career. For that reason, I prefer Travis Kelce though Hill is a solid tournament options. Kelce is just a bit safer for cash games in my opinion.
Overall Outlook- Stack this game up. Smith-Kelce/Hill and bring it back with Crabtree or Cooper or you can slide Carr in as well. This should be a good fantasy game.
Projected Vegas Score: Chargers 26, Redskins 20
Quarterbacks- I'm a huge fan of Kirk Cousins and he's always solid despite the matchup, but I can't use him against this tough Chargers secondary. Cousins has dealt with injuries to all of his pass catchers this season and the Chargers rank 7th in pass-defense DVOA. Philip Rivers has been red-hot since Thanksgiving, throwing for over 750 yards and 4 touchdowns over the last 2 games. He's viable in all formats at home again this week.
Running Backs- Samaje Perine will continue to be the guy for the Redskins with Rob Kelley and Chris Thompson sidelined for the year. The Chargers are allowing almost 5 YPC on the ground this season, making him firmly in play as a low-owned GPP option but I am concerned that the Redskins will be throwing a lot if they are losing early on Sunday. Melvin Gordon could be interesting for tournaments as I expect more people to be on Rivers and the passing game. The Redskins rank outside the top 15 in run-defense DVOA and Gordon has compiled 20+ touches in each of the last 4 weeks.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- The Chargers have only allowed a Wide Receiver to go over 80 receiving yards twice this season, I don't target players against their secondary. Keenan Allen has been as hot as Philip Rivers going for over 400 yards and 3 scores over the last 3 weeks. I don't expect Josh Norman to shadow him and that makes him viable in all formats once again this week.
Overall Outlook- Rivers-Gordon-Allen are all in play for all formats and you can even stack them all together in GPPs. The Chargers should roll here...but they have a knack for losing easy games.
Projected Vegas Score: Titans 23, Cardinals 20
Quarterbacks- This is going to be one of the more boring DFS games of the weekend. Marcus Mariota has had a hugely underwhelming fantasy season and he has repeatedly relied on rushing ability to keep his fantasy value afloat. I will not be targeting him in fantasy this week. Blaine Gabbert isn't as bad as people think and he is honestly capable of putting up a better fantasy game than Mariota in this spot. The Titans secondary has been shredded all season so I can see him in a GPP.
Running Backs- I can't use either of DeMarco Murray or Derrick Henry until one of them is out of the picture. They are set on using them in a full timeshare and it's impossible to guess which will be more valuable on a given week. Kerwynn Williams will step into a higher volume role with AP out Sunday, and he was surprisingly good last week. He's in play as a GPP pivot off of Gio Bernard, Bernard is still safer for cash games.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Rishard Matthews will return from injury and likely draw the assignment of Patrick Peterson which crosses him off my radar. You can look at Corey Davis in a tournament as he will have the best matchup of the Titans pass catchers, but he is hard to trust given how bad he has played this season. Larry Fitzgerald has been a MACHINE this season and he should absolutely feast on this Titans defense that ranks 25th in pass-defense DVOA. I love him in all formats.
Overall Outlook- Larry Fitz is a top play in all formats and I'm fine with stacking him with Gabbert in a GPP.
New York Jets @ Denver Broncos
Projected Vegas Score: Jets 21, Broncos 20
Quarterbacks- This game is really gross and I don't have much interest in anyone from it. I will say, I like the idea of McCown in tournaments as a 3% owned flier. The Broncos secondary has allowed the most touchdowns through the air this season and McCown has been a legit fantasy Quarterback. If you watched what Trevor Siemian did last week you would know he is not an option.
Running Backs- The one spot I want in this game is the Jets passing stack, neither of the backfields. The Jets are continuing to spread volume around and I can't trust anyone in DFS that I don't know will be getting a heavy workload. It's too risky. Devontae Booker was sick last week and saw limited snaps, but has been the Broncos primary pass catching back as of late. I think he is interesting moving forward, but not this week.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- Robby Anderson didn't find the box for the first time in almost a month last week, but he still went over 100 yards and caught 8/12 targets. I love him in GPPs this week and he is the stacking option with McCown. Demaryius Thomas and Manny Sanders are quality NFL WRs, but I want no part of Siemian.
Overall Outlook- Robby Anderson and maybe McCown in tourneys, that's all from here folks.
Projected Vegas Score: Rams 24.5, Eagles 23.5
Quarterbacks- Vegas loves this game, but I really don't. Don't get me wrong, it's going to be a great game from a real life standpoint but for fantasy scoring I don't see it. Both of these defense are tough and I think the game will stay under the projected score Vegas has given it. Carson Wentz has been elite in DFS this season, but he has also been better at home. He had a decent game in Seattle last week so I think he is viable in GPPs but too risky for cash games. The same goes for Jared Goff...tourneys only!
Running Backs- The Eagles are expected to have 5 Running Backs active on Sunday and I could see them try and ground and pound and work the clock. Everyone was excited when they acquired Jay Ajayi but volume is king in DFS and that is not what we are looking for. Todd Gurley is in play in all formats this week, like always. He's 2nd in the NFL in total touches and he has seen some bad luck in recent weeks when it comes to touchdowns but he is still heavily involved in the offense. The matchup is not good, but he is as safe as anyone in terms of workload.
Wide Receivers/Tight Ends- We are waiting for some big news from both teams with Robert Woods and Zach Ertz both Questionable. Alshon Jeffery and Nelson Agholor will each get a boost if Ertz can't go, but I don't love either. Woods will likely be limited if he plays, but I don't like any pass catchers against this Eagles secondary.
Overall Outlook- Todd Gurley is the top play from this game with everyone else checking in as GPP only options
Analysis for the rest of the games will be up shortly!
Written by Ben Hossler (Follow @BenHossler on Twitter)