NFL DFS Week 14 Picks: 2Ton’s Taeks
NFL DFS Week 14 Picks
Tick, tock. The arms of time are winding down, much like your NFL DFS bankroll. The end of the season is nigh. Yearly teams have been eliminated, while those in the playoffs have already dug their graves in preparation. What will you do? Scurry away and hide as the Jaguars did on TNF? NO! You will hold steadfast! You will trust the DailyRoto optimizer just as you have all season long! It's just a matter of proper line-up constructions while trusting in your rules and groups! It's time to take charge and seize the day, ladies and gentlemen! It's a brand new week with a plethora of brand new plays to tilt over and question your own sanity. At least McCarthy's fired now, right? Sob. I'm heading to the Cheesecake Factory. Will you join me?
It's a good week to spread out your options at QB and take advantage of great matchups. Some may look at Large Benjamin against a dilapidated Oakland defense due to Conner's injury likely putting the onus on Ben's arm to carry them into the playoffs. Not a bad idea, but I'm going with the revenge narrative and choosing the eventual league MVP Drew Brees. He'll be looking to not only avenge the Saints' early season loss to the Bucs, but the entire team will want to clean the bad taste out of their mouth after the Cowboys completely shut down the offense. That could mean a motivated Brees against a Bucs defense that's allowed the most passing TDs to opposing QBs. Even a hobbled Newton was still able to manage 300 passing yards and a couple touchdowns for a solid fantasy day despite chucking up four interceptions. Losing damn near the entire secondary can do that. We all know just how good Brees has been this season, so it's a little curious to see his price tag not reflected as such. If you think it'll be another low volume day from Brees, then you're a fish. This is the perfect spot for a Saints stack to smash and feed off their anger from their previous losses. Carpe diem!
The other top QB play to me may be a surprising one considering all the other options, but I gotta go with the rabbit Philip Rivers against a depleted Bengals secondary. Sure, the Bengals are absolutely brutal against the run (28th DVOA and most points allowed to RBs), but the offense will still have to rely on Rivers' noodle arm. Justin Jackson showed out last week while Ekeler turned into a pumpkin, and while the former could end up eating all of the offense's TDs, I think it's more likely Rivers tosses up a 400+ passing day. Coincidentally, the Bengals are also giving up the most points to QB as well. The same injuries that plagued the Bengals last week have propped up once more, with Kirkpatrick and his other secondary pals on the wrong side of questionable. It's just a matter of whether or not you believe Rivers can fully take advantage of a Bengals defense allowing the 2nd most offensive plays per game despite the slowest paced offense with the 3rd fewest offensive plays. I think the offense likely runs through him and not the Ekeler/Jackson combo similar to what we saw against the Steelers. Your choice.
This is the part of the program where we will now trust the optimizer and let it decide our fates. It has chosen....(drum roll) AARON RODGERS! Fresh off a low overdue firing of known anarchist Mike McCarthy, Rodgers gets a clean slate with queasy interim coach Joe Philbin against a tissue-soft Atlanta defense. It's a great spot to wash off the stink of a failed season with a nice little 40 point burger, medium done of course. Atlanta seems stuck in neutral for the last month or so, ranking dead last in overall DVOA for the 4th week in a row (I think, don't quote me on that!). If it wasn't for the ineptitude of the Bengals defense, they'd also be dead last in points given up to basically every position. I'd pump up Rodgers some more with advanced metrics of his play, but let's be honest here. It's Aaron Rodgers. It's the Falcons defense. If McCarthy truly was the problem, then it'll show up in Rodgers' play. The Packers are even at home! This is truly the last chance to grab up an elite QB like Rodgers in an amazing matchup way below the Tier 1 QBs. I trust in the numbers, do you? I'm feeling queasy right now.
If believing in the crypt keeper that is Joe Philbin doesn't work for you, then I suggest looking at Deshaun Watson in a potential divisional shoot-out that could very well decide the AFC South. In his last game against the Colts (which went into OT), Watson threw for 375 yards and 2 TDs plus a rushing touchdown against a much better defense at the time. That Colts pass defense has now eroded to 21st on the DVOA rankings, while Watson and the Texans offense as a whole has vastly improved since then. Watson is no longer the most pressured QB as he was in the 1st half of the season, ranking 1st in time while in the pocket. That is both a good and bad thing, as it also counts QBs holding on the ball too long which has been a knock on Watson's game. However, his numbers are dramatically better when given more than 2.5 seconds of time (the NFL average more or less), ranking 7th in QB rating and tied with Brees/Luck for 5th most TDs thrown. It's clear that a clean pocket means a happy Watson, who's now totaled 12 TDs over the last five games compared to 11 TDs in the seven games prior. Yes, I'm picking his 5 TD game on purpose, because that was the catalyst that ignited the fire for Watson. Before that game, Watson was averaging a middling 61.7% completion rate compared to 71.9% in the four games after. Big change, huh? His yardage has gone down though, but it's a necessary sacrifice for a more balanced attack that has allowed for more scoring opportunities. Against a high-power Colts offense, an efficient and steady offense will be crucial. I'll take my chances with an improved and healthy Watson looking to seal the Colts fate at home.
You know who's been a QB that's on fire but still going under the radar? He's averaging 292 passing yards on 73.6% completion and 10 touchdowns over his last four games. Pretty damn good numbers, right? That's the 2018 1st overall pick Baker Mayfield, and he's my sleeper pick of the week. He'll get a capsizing Panthers team on a four-game losing skid. That hasn't been due to a low-scoring offense but rather a mediocre defense that now ranks 27th DVOA overall. During the four-game losing streak, the Panthers have averaged nearly 300 yards per game to opposing QBs, a number that would be higher if it wasn't for pig-faced Stafford and his whopping 220 passing yards. Pitiful. Baker ranks in the top 10 in every QB category over the past month, but the most important stat is how fast he's been pushing the offense (4th fastest) which has resulted in more red zone trips. The Panthers defense seems to struggle against faster-paced offenses who can take advantage of an elevated passing rate and feed off a slower secondary. Steelers and Bucs were ranked in the top 10 for pace, while Seattle turned up the pace in what was an offensive onslaught instead of their usual plodding 7th slowest pace. It's clear what the Panthers defense's weakness is and teams are attacking it at will. Choose Baker or choose death!
At this point in the NFL season, deciding on my top RB plays has simply been a matter of picking whoever plays against a defense that ranks bottom five at covering RBs. Dual-threat RBs have dominated thus far this season, and that trend is unlikely to change this week with most the usual suspects on deck. Those suspects would be – Atlanta (most receiving yards given up to RBs), Kansas City (2nd most), Seattle (3rd most), and Cincinnati (most points and receiving TDs allowed to RBs). Pick a dual-threat RB facing against those teams and you'll most likely get a 20+ points outing from him. Unfortunately for you, this won't be a week to plug and play according to the RB sheet. Seattle is on MNF, Aaron Jones isn't known for his passing work (vs ATL), Gus Edwards has the mobility of a bathtub (vs KC), and Ekeler apparently gets gassed if he doesn't play special teams (vs CIN). Aaron Jones can still have a huge day if they do involve him in the passing game but that's an unknown for now. What to do? Easy! Pick the best dual threats that are projected highly! That leaves McCaffrey, Barkley, and Kamara as your best options. They all play against defenses that rank 24th or worse in DVOA run defense, with TB and CLE giving up the 6th and 8th most in points to RBs. Call me crazy, but that seems like a really good thing for these RBs. You can't go wrong with any one of them, but I do like Kamara's potential with how much work he gets in the RZ (2nd most opportunities in NFL). Tasty!
While it's a relatively simple week to plug and play your stud RBs, this is a week full of tremendous values due to injuries. Melvin Gordon isn't expected to play, which leaves Justin Jackson as a great salary relief. He's in a beautiful fantasy spot but may get overshadowed by Ekeler if the coachspeak doesn't hold true on reducing his workload.
Jeff Wilson is another popular name being thrown out due to Breida being ruled out. He had a very solid game as Breida's replacement when called upon after Breida had to exit the game, rushing for 61 yards and catching 8 passes for 73 yards. Just by volume and scheme alone, Wilson should be able to hit value fairly easily just off his receiving work alone in a game with sneaky potential for a shoot-out between two pass-happy teams. Not to mention the Broncos recently lost their best coverage corner in Chris Harris, a bad omen for a pass defense that's already getting thrown at the 6th highest rate. Still, if rostering mediocre backups isn't your thing, then you should probably look away right now.
The Steelers love spamming their RBs. James Conner was the previous starting RB, racking up 253 touches on the season. That's a 20+ touch average. He is now out for Week 14. Jaylen Samuels is the new starting RB. He is priced very cheaply. The Steelers love spamming their RBs. Samuels is somehow eligible to play at TE in yearly leagues. I hate this. Oakland has given up the 2nd most rushing yards to RBs. Samuels is a RB. He is also a Steeler, who like to spam running backs. They also will have a decrepit RB in Stevan Ridley backing up Samuels. He played in three games over the last two years before this season. He is not good. In the two games where Samuels played more than a few snaps, he combined for 6/42/2 receiving. He is almost free on all sites. Please send help. I am facing Samuels in the playoffs. I am eating the Samuels chalk. I am slowly going insane.
With Christian Kirk on I.R., I expect the Cardinals to fully unleash David Johnson and move out at WR more often. It's wishful thinking but it is really the sensible thing to do for a bottom-tier Cardinals offense. They'll get a crumbling Lions defense that has just completely been eviscerated by receiving backs over their last four games. They're already giving up the 10th most points to RBs with the 6th most rushing yards allowed, but the more concerning number is how often they've been allowing RB targets (26 targets over last four games). That's something the Cards have to take advantage with Johnson after such a promising start with new OC Byron Leftwich. In the 1st two games under the new OC, Johnson tallied 11 catches for 126 yards and a TD on 13 targets. The three games since? A measly 4/36/0 stat-line on 8 useless targets. Unacceptable. If the Cardinals plan on continuing to give DJ 20+ touches per game (22.8 average over last 5), then chances are Johnson may not even need the more valuable targets to hit value against a mediocre run defense. However, if by some miracle Leftwich gets a phone from Bruce Arians yelling at him for not using his best weapon to the fullest and ends up giving DJ 20 targets, then guess what? Chicken butt. Just play DJ as long as he's getting 20+ touches a game.
What a smorgasbord of top WR plays for the week! Michael Thomas against the lowly Bucs with a 16/180/1 in his back pocket from his 1st meeting. Keenan Allen coming off a thrilling 14/148/1 stat-line and gets to play against nobodies as Cincy falls off the proverbial cliff. Davante Adams and his savage red zone production for that sexy Packers stack against more nobodies. Even Antonio Brown and his hipster dances for a trash pizza chain against a bunch of hoodlums! How am I supposed to pick a top play between all of these choices? Wait a minute. I can just pick two of the value RBs and pay up for ALL of the WRs! YES! That is my preferred plan of action in line-up construction this week, focusing on the elite WRs while eating the chalk at RBs that best can manage value from a PPR standpoint. Truth be told, Adams is probably the most intriguing among the elite WRs due to his league-leading RZ targets (26) that has resulted in 11 field goal dunks. The Falcons are alarmingly bad at red zone defense, giving up a TD on 72% of opponent's red zone drives (3rd worst). That's... I mean, wow. Might explain why they're bottom five at allowing TDs across all positions, including the 4th most TDs to WRs. Had to throw that one in. Goodbye.
With the untimely injury to Emmanuel Sanders that placed him on the I.R., Courtland Sutton has now, uh, suddenly been thrust into a large role. He was already trending upwards after the Demaryius Thomas trade and finished last week as the leading WR. Now he'll get to face a 49ers defense that's been getting lit up over the season as teams pass on them at the 3rd highest rate. A continually banged up secondary is a big reason why, as their only legitimate starter all year has been Richard Sherman. Now, some people may be scared due to Sherman's early season ranking as a top tier CB. His gaudy early season numbers as the least targeted CB with the lowest QB rating on passes thrown his way has dwindled away, as he's now the 41st graded CB by PFF with a 102.2 rating on passes his way. Rough. Still, Sutton shouldn't be in Sherman's rearview mirror for much of the game as he already ran 54% of his routes away from Sherman. With Sanders eating up more than 50% of the Broncos' slot routes, one would think Sutton would also see an increase at slot. Perhaps, perhaps not. Does it matter? Probably not. Whoever lines up in front of Sutton is of little importance, as reflected by their stats against opposing WRs. Yes, yes. They have given up the most receiving TDs to WRs, the vast majority against Ahkello Witherspoon who just so happens to be the starting CB next to Sherman. Ya know, the guy Sutton will dust repeatedly over the span of the game? Jam. Him. In.
I hate to do this as a devoted Dolphins fan but with the news of top-flight CB Xavien Howard likely to miss the game, I have to go ahead and put Josh Gordon in this spot. The Dolphins are very, very bad without Howard as their entire secondary gets thrown off due to the necessary shuffles that will likely move Minkah Fitzpatrick out to boundary corner. Maybe they don't do that and just let their 3rd/4th stringers get mauled by Gordon. Either way, losing their best coverage CB who had occasionally shadowed #1 WRs and had already shut down Gordon in their last meeting spells doom for Miami. Gordon has been on a steady meal plan with Brady, feasting when given the chance but still watching his weight. His lack of consistent production has been a frustrating ordeal for many who roster him for his big play potential, but here are some stats to stay hopeful that he'll dunk all over Miami's secondary. Since Week 6, when Gordon received starter snaps (50+ snaps), he has the 10th most air yards among all WRs with a 13.6 aDOT. Brady has clearly preferred him as an air-it-out option, which has paid off dividends in certain games with long TD grabs. Problem is Brady has been rather shoddy with his deep passing skills, with the 12th most attempts past 20 yards down the field but only completing less than half of those said passes. That's around average numbers in comparison to other QBs, but the high number of attempts is promising. Miami was already awful at defending the big play, ranking 3rd worst in explosive plays (20+ passing yards) given up with an 11% rate. Take out Howard and add in a sprinkle of Gosh Jordon? You have a recipe for a very sad Dolfan.
You again? Didn't I tell you to scram? Excuse me? The top TEs all have rough matchups against elite defenses? Well, boohoo! Take your lumps if you want to be a foolish man and pay up at TE. You get what you get! Okay, fine. I'll play nice. While both Ravens and Cowboys look like a scary matchup on paper with top 4th and 7th overall DVOA rankings respectively, they're actually susceptible against athletic TEs. It's one of their few weaknesses and considering both defenses have name values, this may be a week to get an unusually low ownership on Kelce/Ertz. But which one has the better matchup? Hard to say as they're very similar in overall numbers including total points given up (11th and 12th most), but it's ano-brainerr if you consider that the Chiefs are by far the more explosive and voluminous offense. Baltimore has been very, very stingy against wide-outs while shutting down the run completely. Logic says Kelce has to be the number one option for Air Mahomes, and he very well could replicate last week's jaw-dropping 12/168/2 again. Probably not, but the gameflow of the game curiously points to an unexpected big game from baby Gronk.
Rough week to punt at TE. There are scattered options as always, one less appetizing as the next. I'll stick with David Njoku in a blow-up spot against a 31st DVOA Panthers TE coverage unit. They've given up the most TDs to TEs along with the Raiders, so stack the surging Baker with one of his best weapons! OK, maybe not one of the best, but he's still a rather large guy! Yes, the guy's an emotional roller-coaster witha great outing of 50+ yards coupled with goose eggs in between. This is the week he doesn't goose egg in what should be a high-paced matchup that should serve the uber-athletic TE well against one of the least athletic coverage units. It's a worthwhile punt that certainly looks better than rostering some dude named LaCosse. I have nothing further to say, your Honor.
It's Handy Vance week! Remember when Vance McDonald used to be like, really fast? Yeah! He'd take a two yard drag and turn it into big chunks and sometimes stiff arm his way for huge touchdown runs! Those days seem behind McDonald as he's struggled to even crack 30 yards over the past month, but at least his snap count has been steady over the last three games after a downward dip. He's still seeing ample targets in that span with 18 chances at breaking a long run, but his routes have left little room to run after the catch. In fact, his YPRR during those three games (0.83) was almost half of what his average was beforehand (1.91). What gives? I'm not really sure why the Steelers have essentially turned Vance from a seam inline TE to basically Antonio Gates. Whatever the reason is, he's still facing the worst TE coverage unit in the NFL that's giving up the most everything to opposing TEs. Add in an injured Conner and a possible uptick in the Steelers' pass attempts, and we just finally might be able to see Handy Vance unleashed! Or we get Randall Cobb. Still better than LaCosse, though.
Be the first to know
Want FREE Fantasy and Gaming Advice and Savings Delivered to your Inbox? Sign up for our Newsletter.