Yahoo NFL Daily Fantasy Football Primer: Week 14
Each week, this piece will go position-by-position on the main Yahoo daily fantasy football slate, looking at high-priced and value options who are viable in cash and GPP lineups. As injuries, matchups, and usage come into a clearer view late in the season, roster construction becomes much more critical to differentiating your lineup from the field.
Let's dive into the position-by-position analysis for Week 14.
To all of the seasonal fantasy football players who didn't make the playoffs, but want to continue getting their football fix, I say welcome! I would love to see research someday on if there is a spike in NFL DFS players in Week 14 when most seasonal leagues begin their playoffs. I suppose there might be a strong correlation towards teams who don't make the playoffs and managers who have stopped caring about football by Week 14, but I would suspect there is still a chance there is some fishy money out there this week.
Regardless, team incentives, seeding, and motivation are beginning to strongly come into play. It's more imperative than ever to make sure we understand the context of each game as well as the data that has been accumulated up to this week.
Ryan Tannehill ($30) - I feel the need to rethink my entire worldview when I discover that this is a point in time where Tannehill is more expensive than Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Philip Rivers, and Jared Goff. We must be in one of these Marvel Cinematic Universe multiverses or something, because the Ryan Tannehill I know is someone who has never averaged a quarterback rating higher than 93, not the one who owns a league-leading 114 over his eight games this season. Is the price hike to $30 warranted? Actually, yes.
Since Week 7, only Lamar Jackson and Matthew Stafford have a higher touchdown rate than Tannehill among starting quarterbacks and only Brees has a higher completion percentage. The secret lies in finally unlocking A.J. Brown's massive ceiling. Since Week 7, Brown has seen at least 19% of the target share in five of six games. Through the first six games of the season, Brown reached that number one time. Against the Oakland Raiders 28th ranked defense by passing net expected points (NEP) per play, Tannehill and Brown should continue the bromance that has given them so much success these past several games.
Nick Chubb ($29) - This admittedly isn't the most appealing game on paper. A low 41.5 implied total with a banged-up Baker Mayfield on one side and the whole Bengals team on the other doesn't inspire a lot of fantasy confidence, but the stage is set for a dominant Nick Chubb performance.
Despite the perception that Kareem Hunt would come off suspension and this backfield immediately became an equitable timeshare, Chubb still owns a clear majority of the work. Chubb only has one game in his last seven with fewer than 21 touches and has at least two-thirds of the rushing share in every game this season -- in fact, he now ranks just behind Christian McCaffrey in total rushing share on the season (79.5%). The Cincinnati Bengals rank 23rd in rushing NEP defense, and allow the seventh-most fantasy points per game to the running back position. If Mayfield truly has an injured hand that would limit him on Sunday, they may seek to rush at a rate higher than normal rate, especially as 7.5 point favorites.
Joe Mixon ($18) - It's the all Ohio version of the running back plays this week. It probably wouldn't surprise you to learn that Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette, Derrick Henry, and Chubb are the four running backs with the most touches per game over the last four weeks. Number five on the list? Joe Mixon. Mixon also has played the eleventh highest percentage of snaps of all running backs in that time frame, despite the Bengals getting routinely thrashed.
A matchup against the 26th ranked Cleveland Browns rush defense is a perfect opportunity for Mixon to showcase what he can do with his recent high volume, including 87% of the Bengals' red zone rush attempts the past four weeks.
Davante Adams ($27) - Apparently after scoring two touchdowns and moving into a home matchup with the 26th ranked Washington Redskins pass defense, Yahoo pricing algorithms determined Adams needed a 13% price decrease. I really can't explain the drop from $31 to $27 on this slate, but it's moved Adams into 100% lock status for me. I guess the argument could be made the Green Bay Packers will blow out the Redskins and Adams won't be needed, but I just can't come up with any other explanation.
Adams hasn't seen less than a 30% target share in any week since he returned from injury, and is now #11 in the NFL in the percentage of his team's air yards. With the Packers consistently being around 1.5 pass plays to run plays each game this season, I see no reason to be concerned that Adams will have any sort of significant absence in this game.
James Washington ($15) - As the one stable force among the quarterback carousel for the Pittsburgh Steelers this season, Washington continues to shine no matter who is throwing him the ball. But he has been saving his best work for the past few weeks, as he has emerged as a lead receiver with JuJu Smith-Schuster forced off the field.
Washington is the Steelers' leader in total air yards, receptions per game, receiving yards per game, and target share per game since Week 8. His average depth of target is more than six yards more than Diontae Johnson, the other Steelers wide receiver who can be considered healthy, and that should be a key to exploiting the Arizona Cardinals who have the 31st ranked passing defense in the league and have the fourth-worst defense against explosive pass plays this year, according to Sharp Football Stats.
Jack Doyle ($20) - A little holiday recipe for you to end the analysis this week.
When you combine one Eric Ebron IR trip, one T.Y. Hilton lingering injury, a quarterback with an average depth of target ranked in the bottom 10 in the league, and a matchup against the team allowing the second-most points to the tight end position, you get a potential smash spot for one Jack Doyle. If not for the Arizona Cardinals, we would be talking each week about playing tight ends against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and this critical game in the standings for the Indianapolis Colts should feature Doyle heavily. The price tag doesn't bother me at all as Doyle has less competition for targets than many of the other high-end tight ends in Week 14.