FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 14
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel daily fantasy football helper, where we give you an overview of the Sunday main slate to help you get started on your research. As always, we recommend checking out all of numberFire's premium tools at your disposal. In particular, the heat map is a great way to get a general overview of the slate's implied totals, and every team's strengths and weaknesses. You also have access to numberFire's weekly projections, which can assist you in nailing down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays on the FanDuel main slate.
Lamar Jackson ($9,000 on FanDuel): Lamar Jackson leads all players on the slate with 27.83 FanDuel points per game, and he's $2,000 cheaper than runner-up Christian McCaffrey (26.38 points). Jackson has cracked 20 FanDuel points in 11 of 12 games, exceeding 30 points on 6 occasions. He's a top play as always against Buffalo this week.
Deshaun Watson ($7,700): Deshaun Watson tossed three touchdowns in a big win over the Patriots -- numberFire's second-best schedule-adjusted pass defense -- so he should be able to find success in a far less imposing spot against the Broncos. Although Denver hasn't exactly been a fantasy goldmine for opposing quarterbacks, they actually rate out as a middle-of-the-pack pass defense, ranking 14th in Adjusted Defensive Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per play. Houston is expected to put up points as 9.5-point home favorites with a 25.50 implied total.
Despite costing under $8k, Watson is projected for practically the same number of FanDuel points as Lamar Jackson in numberFire's model, making Watson the slate's top point-per-dollar quarterback.
Jameis Winston ($7,700) and Matt Ryan ($7,600): Jameis Winston and Matt Ryan get grouped together here as signal-callers who both play in pass-heavy offenses and often find themselves in shootouts because of their poor defenses. On paper, this isn't a slate ripe with shootout potential, but both Indianapolis-Tampa Bay (47.5) and Carolina-Atlanta (47.0) have two of the highest totals this week, and the Bucs and Falcons are slight home favorites.
Winston has thrown for 300-plus yards in six of the last eight games, and gets the easier matchup, with Indianapolis ranking a modest 17th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play.
Ryan faces the sixth-best schedule-adjusted pass defense, but he threw for 311 yards against them in Week 11, and the Panthers have really struggled lately, losing five of their last six games. Although Ryan has underwhelmed since returning from injury, he's posted 300 yards in 8 of 10 healthy games this year, and the Falcons have the league's highest passing play percentage.
Both quarterbacks are top-five point-per-dollar plays at the position in numberFire's projections.
Also, at the same price point as Watson, Winston, and Ryan, you can also consider Sam Darnold ($7,700) as a pivot in tournaments. Darnold gets our favorite matchup against the Miami Dolphins, who have allowed three passing touchdowns to three straight quarterbacks.
Christian McCaffrey ($11,000): Christian McCaffrey finally failed to live up to his lofty price tag in Week 13 (13.7 FanDuel points), but his role was as voluminous as ever, racking up 14 rushes and 12 targets with a 98.7% snap rate, so we can just chalk it up to normal variance. He remains priced up at $11k, so the room for error is still small, but we shouldn't be surprised if he bounces back against Atlanta, which is average against the run, ranking 15th in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play. McCaffrey is projected for the most raw FanDuel points across all positions.
Dalvin Cook ($8,700): Dalvin Cook would be a shoo-in against the Lions under normal circumstances, but after being forced out of Monday night's game with a shoulder injury, there's some uncertainty with his status. However, Cook is expected to play against Detroit, which ranks 24th in schedule-adjusted run defense and has allowed the third-most FanDuel points to running backs. If Cook ends up with his normal workload, he should clean up in this matchup, and he's projected for the second-most FanDuel points among running backs.
It's worth noting that the Vikings are 13.0-point favorites, though, so if they get out to a big lead, there's always the slight risk that they rest Cook in the second half and let Alexander Mattison ($5,100) take on more touches.
Leonard Fournette ($7,500): Leonard Fournette had a modest output agains a tough Tampa Bay run defense in Week 13, but even in a blowout loss, he maintained his usual elite volume, tallying 14 carries and 11 targets with an 89.0% snap rate.
Averaging 18.3 rushes and 6.8 targets per game this season and hitting 30 or more opportunities four times, few can match Fournette's workload, and he should have an easier time getting things going against the Chargers, who rank 22nd in Adjusted Defensive Rushing NEP per play and 25th in Target Success Rate allowed to running backs. He's the best point-per-dollar play at the position entering the weekend.
Devonta Freeman ($6,000): Devonta Freeman has been pretty mediocre in 2019, but he faces the Panthers, who rank dead last in schedule-adjusted run defense by a wide margin and have allowed the most FanDuel points to opposing backfields. In Freeman's first game since returning from injury, he notched 17 carries and 5 targets while playing 66.7% of the snaps, which pretty much falls in line with what we've come to expect this season.
Michael Thomas ($8,600): This is an intriguing week for Michael Thomas, who's coming off a surprising down week against Atlanta and now draws an imposing 49ers defense that ranks first against the pass in numberFire's metrics and has given up the third-fewest FanDuel points to wide receivers. Despite all that, he still projects as the top wideout in our model, and his usage is pretty much unmatched with a 31.6% target share and 36.8% air yards share. The tough matchup should lower Thomas' ownership, which ups his appeal in tournaments.
Davante Adams ($8,400): On the other hand, Davante Adams figures to be quite popular facing a lackluster Washington defense, and he's coming off a two-touchdown game in Week 13. Washington ranks 28th in Adjusted Defensive Passing NEP per play and 30th in Target Success Rate allowed to wideouts. Since returning in Week 9, Adams has seen double-digit targets in all four games with a 32.8% target share and a 38.8% air yards share.
D.J. Moore ($7,100): D.J. Moore remains too cheap for his role -- dating back to Week 5, he's registered a 29.2% target share and 39.1% air yards share over the last eight games. He gets an exploitable matchup against Atlanta, which is 30th in schedule-adjusted pass defense and 32nd in Target Success Rate given up to wide receivers.
Tyler Boyd ($6,300): The Bengals finally got their first win of the season with Andy Dalton back under center, and while this offense still isn't anything special, this should be a significant improvement over the Ryan Finley version. That boosts Tyler Boyd's chances of success moving forward, and he saw a healthy 29.7% target share and 46.2% air yards share in Dalton's return. This week's game against Cleveland isn't necessarily exciting, but most of the bets and money are taking the over, per oddsFire.
Travis Kelce ($7,100): There's obviously some risk in using Travis Kelce against the Patriots, but he still projects as numberFire's top tight end in both raw points and point-per-dollar value. With all the key pieces in the Chiefs' offense healthy in Week 13, Kelce led the way with a 33.3% target share and 51.5% air yards share in a blowout win over the Raiders. While we can't expect that kind of usage every single week, it's just a reminder of the high-upside role Kelce carries at a typically bland position.
For what it's worth, though, in two games against New England in 2018, Kelce was held to a 5/61/0 line in Week 6 and 3/23/1 in the AFC Championship.
Darren Waller ($6,200): Among the handful of tight ends projected for double-digit FanDuel points, Darren Waller is the cheapest and draws a plus matchup against Tennessee, which ranks 21st in Target Success Rate allowed to tight ends. With Hunter Renfrow sidelined in Week 13 -- who is expected to remain out this week -- Waller led the team by a wide margin in target share (33.3%) and air yards share (51.2%), catching 7-of-9 targets for 100 yards.
Green Bay D/ST ($5,000): Carolina's defense surprisingly flopped against Washington last week, but we shouldn't hesitate to try again with Green Bay, which is a 13.0-point home favorite and projects as the week's top defense. Dwayne Haskins has already been sacked 22 times in just four starts (six appearances) -- one more than Lamar Jackson or Tom Brady have been sacked in a full season -- and he's only thrown two touchdowns to six interceptions. Minnesota D/ST ($4,800) should also put up a strong score as heavy home favorites over Detroit.
New York Jets D/ST ($4,100): The Jets aren't a particularly great defense, but they could put up some fantasy points against a pass-heavy Dolphins offense. With pretty much no running game to speak of, Ryan Fitzpatrick has now attempted at least 39 passes in three straight games, and Miami has the league's second-highest passing play percentage over that span. That's the recipe we want to accumulate sacks and turnovers -- two things the risk-taking Fitzpatrick often provides.