DraftKings Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 14
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The Week 14 main slate will be decided by picking two of the top-four running backs by salary -- Christian McCaffrey, Saquon Barkley Ezekiel Elliott, Alvin Kamara -- and one of the two values at the position -- Jaylen Samuels and Jeff Wilson -- to start building a cash-game lineup with a sky-high ceiling. Additionally, wide receiver has plenty of strong options priced below $5,000 to help install a strong floor. With so many close calls to make, be sure to check our projections for updates as kickoff draws near.
Drew Brees ($6,600): Believe it or not, Drew Brees has now failed to record double-digit DraftKings points on three occasions this season. However, this rematch of the Week 1 opener against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers does not figure to become the fourth. In fact, numberFire's projections have Brees as the top quarterback on the main slate. Back in season opener, Brees completed 37 of 45 passes for a season-high 439 yards and three touchdowns at home against Tampa. From Weeks 9 through 12, Brees threw a total of 15 touchdowns and exceeded 300 passing yards twice during that span of four games. In addition to Tampa being tied for the league lead in passing touchdowns allowed to quarterbacks with 28, the Bucs are the third-worst pass defense, per our schedule-adjusted metrics. Despite playing outdoors, where his numbers have been historically depressed, Brees is in a great spot to bounce back in a big way.
Baker Mayfield ($5,800): After three consecutive games of strong play, Baker Mayfield struggled mightily in the first half of last week's road game against the Houston Texans. But after completing just five passes for 46 yards to go along with three interceptions, Mayfield nearly reached 400 passing yards on the day and did not turn the ball over again thanks to a big second half. The outing also marks Mayfield's third consecutive game in which he exceeded 9.0 yards per pass attempt. This week, Mayfield returns home to face a Carolina Panthers pass defense that ranks in the bottom five of our schedule-adjusted metrics. On the season, Carolina has seen five quarterbacks pass for more than 300 yards against them, and they've failed to record an interception during their three-game losing streak. Given the price and the matchup, Mayfield looks viable in any format. Through four games with new play-caller Freddie Kitchens, Mayfield has completed 71.8 percent of his passes with 10 touchdowns, four interceptions, and a strong yards-per-attempt clip of 8.9.
Lamar Jackson ($5,700): Even though Lamar Jackson has yet to throw for more than 180 passing yards in any of his three starts, he has provided an extremely safe floor by rushing for more than 70 yards in each outing. He's now tasked with going into Arrowhead Stadium to face the Kansas City Chiefs as a 6.5-point underdog. Even though the Chiefs' pass defense ranks in the middle of the pack by our scheduled-adjusted metrics, they have allowed the most passing yards per game (295.0) as their high-octane offense has the opposition in negative game scripts on a frequent basis. Not only will Jackson remain a near-lock for double-digit rushing attempts, he'll likely need to throw the ball far more than the 13 pass attempts he's averaged thus far.
Christian McCaffrey ($9,300): Even though Christian McCaffrey is the most expensive player on the main slate, he's well worth the steep investment. The opposing Cleveland Browns are inside the top 10 when it comes to receiving yards allowed to running backs even though they've allowed the 11th-fewest receptions to the position. On the season, a total of seven running backs have exceeded 40 receiving yards when they've faced Cleveland. As for McCaffrey, he's surpassed 50 receiving yards in six of his last seven games and has rushed for more than 100 yards in back-to-back contests for the first time in his career. Clearly, McCaffrey is among the top plays on the board and should be heavily owned in all formats.
Alvin Kamara ($8,100): Based on our projections, the top running back on the main slate is Alvin Kamara. During the season opener against Tampa Bay, Kamara ran the ball just eight times for 29 yards but scored two touchdowns. In the passing game, he caught nine of 12 targets for 112 yards and added another touchdown. Since then, four other running backs have recorded 55 or more receiving yards against the Buccaneers. We've yet to see Kamara get 20 carries in a game, but he's extremely efficient on a per-touch basis, sees heavy passing game usage, and has a lot of touchdown equity. Additionally, despite being on the road, the New Orleans Saints carry the highest implied team total on the main slate and are favored by 8.0 points.
Jaylen Samuels ($3,700): The path to playing two expensive running backs in cash games this week is to pay down for either Jeff Wilson ($3,800) or Jaylen Samuels. Samuels has the higher projection and is the better points-per-dollar value, per our models. The Pittsburgh Steelers are 10.0-point road favorites with the third-highest implied team total. For Wilson, the San Francisco 49ers are playing at home in a more difficult matchup. Samuels told reporters he'll be sharing the workload with veteran Stevan Ridley while Wilson looks like the team's primary back. While at North Carolina State, Samuels saw double-digit carries only once and had more catches than carries. During Wilson's final season at North Texas, he ran for more than 1,200 yards but is nowhere near the athlete Samuels is. PlayerProfiler compares Samuels to Marcel Reece, an uber athletic fullback and longtime Oakland Raider. While both are great values, Samuels checks more boxes.
Amari Cooper ($6,600): After going off for 180 yards and two touchdowns on Thanksgiving, Amari Cooper secured all eight of his targets for 76 yards in Week 13 at home against the Saints. Cooper will remain in Jerry World for the third consecutive week, this time welcoming the Philadelphia Eagles. In his second game following the trade from Oakland, Cooper caught six of 10 targets for 75 yards against Philly, who has been ravaged by injuries in the secondary. Through five games as a Cowboy, Cooper is averaging eight targets, six receptions, and 85 yards per game. Amari could hit his ceiling again and is a great tournament option when fading the higher-owned Ezekiel Elliott.
Chris Godwin ($4,900): Still unable to practice due to a thumb injury, DeSean Jackson will likely miss his second straight game and is in jeopardy of missing the rest of the season. In his absence, second-year receiver Chris Godwin is looking to prove he can be a major factor in Tampa's receiving corps. Last week at home against the Panthers, Godwin caught five of six targets for 101 yards and scored a touchdown. It marks the second time in four weeks that Godwin has broken the century mark while the touchdown -- his fifth of the year -- was his first score since Week 6. Meanwhile, teammate Adam Humphries is also $4,900 and has scored in three straight contests. New Orleans has allowed more receptions and receiving yards to opposing wide receivers than any other team in the league, so stacking the pair together in cash games looks viable.
Courtland Sutton ($4,500): Not only does the torn Achilles' suffered by Emmanuel Sanders end his season, it puts his status for 2019 very much in doubt. Courtland Sutton will be thrust into the number-one receiver chair one month after the trade of Demaryius Thomas elevated the rookie into the secondary seat. Last week, Sutton caught four of seven targets for a season-high 85 yards and scored for the first time since Week 7. Follow rookie DaeSean Hamilton -- who's priced at the minimum -- led all of the Denver Broncos wideouts in snap rate last week -- 80 percent, per Football Outsiders -- even though he didn't draw a single target. Sutton is a fixture when building a cash-game lineup, but he's fine to fade in tournaments as Denver has been a top-10 rushing offense during their three-game win streak.
David Njoku ($3,900): Last week's six-target game was the most looks David Njoku has seen in a game since Week 7. However, Njoku was able to record only eight receiving yards on three receptions, scoring single-digit DraftKings points for the third time in five games. Carolina has not allowed a touchdown to a tight end over the last three weeks, but they also got to face teams that rarely target tight ends in the Detroit Lions and Seattle Seahawks. Overall, the Panthers are seventh in receptions allowed to tight ends, making Njoku underpriced given the upside.
Chris Herndon ($3,000): Projected to see the fourth-most tight end targets on the main slate, per our models, Chris Herndon comes in as our top value at tight end despite a tricky road matchup against the Buffalo Bills. Herndon has now seen four or more targets in five of his last six games, which includes Week 10 against Buffalo. During that span, Herndon was able to reach double-digit DraftKings points on three occasions. After struggling through three starts, veteran Josh McCown will hand the controls back to rookie Sam Darnold (foot), which is at least a minimal upgrade for Herndon. If punting at tight end is in your plans, Herndon is the best of a limited number of options.
New Orleans D/ST ($2,700): Thanks in part to compiling 13 sacks over the last two weeks, the Saints' defense has scored exactly 15 DraftKings points in each of their past two games and has now come through with nine or more points in five of their last six contests. During that run, only one opponent scored more than 20 real-world points against them as New Orleans has taken the ball away a total of 13 times in that timeframe. Jameis Winston has been more careful with the football since returning from his latest benching a few weeks ago, but he is still top-10 in interceptable passes, per PlayerProfiler.
Kansas City D/ST ($2,300): Perhaps the cheapest defense to feel comfortable playing in cash games, the Kansas City Chiefs have scored at least six DraftKings points in eight of their last nine games. Over the last three, Kansas City has collected seven turnovers and 13 sacks. Meanwhile, Lamar Jackson has thrown three interceptions in three starts. The rookie hasn't taken many sacks, although his desire to scramble could lead to more takedowns and possible fumbles as a lopsided scoreboard would likely result in more drop backs. Priced at only $300 above the salary floor, our projections see the Chiefs as a top value among the defensive units on the main slate.
Eric McClung is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.