DRAFT Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 14
Just because the NFL season is underway doesn't mean you can't enjoy fantasy football drafts.
Over at DRAFT.com, you can get the experience of a fantasy draft while building your daily fantasy rosters, and the format is quite simple.
You roster one quarterback, two running backs, and two wide receiver/tight ends, while drafting against opponents in real-time. That means the typical "value" aspect of daily fantasy is different, as you're not worrying about salary cap and instead just playing your opponents for your preferred picks of the week.
What stands out for Week 14's main slate?
When considering running backs in the DRAFT format, you are required to draft two, but the difference between the top options and the next grouping can be a big drop-off.
Our projections have only two running backs projected for 21.5 points or more, while the third running back is projected for 18.8 fantasy points. This might not seem massive, but in fantasy football or DFS, every point matters. In your head-to-head matches, you will 100% be grabbing at least one of these top running backs, but as you move on to 4-person, 6-person, and 10-person DRAFTS, things can change dramatically.
Let's take a look at a few players by tiers, so you can get a clear picture of where you should be targeting each player.
1. Christian McCaffrey (RB1) - It's McCaffrey's world, and we are just living in it. Yes, last week wasn't amazing for him -- only 13.7 FanDuel points -- but the matchup this week is a spot for him to exploit. He is up against the Atlanta Falcons, who he played just three weeks ago and was able to rack up 15 targets. That falls right in line with what he did last season, posting 26 receptions on 28 targets in the two games he played Atlanta.
2. Dalvin Cook (RB2) - Cook was a bit banged up in his most recent game against the Seattle Seahawks, but he practiced on Friday and should be set to play. He has an amazing matchup with the Detroit Lions, who are allowing 26.4 FanDuel points per game to running backs -- the third-most in the league. The Minnesota Vikings also come in with the highest implied team total of the slate, sitting at 28.25 points.
3. Leonard Fournette (RB3) - We have Fournette projected for nearly 21 carries and a bit more than six targets, all of which have him going for 18.8 FanDuel points -- which is the third-highest on the slate. The Jacksonville Jaguars have a very modest 20.00 implied team total, which is rather low, keeping Fournette as the clear third option this week.
4. Alvin Kamara (RB4) - Everyone in the fantasy is saying Kamara is due for some positive touchdown regression. He has plenty of touches every week -- close to 20 in most games -- but hasn't scored since Week 3. He is up against the San Francisco 49ers, making this a tougher matchup since they are allowing the third-fewest FanDuel points per game to running backs.
5. Derrick Henry (RB5) - Henry has five touchdowns in his last three games, 149 rushing yards or more in each game in that span, and 19 carries or more in each game. That is what we love to see in DFS as his role is secure for the Tennessee Titans. That is great when he is facing a defense like the Oakland Raiders, one allowing over 20 FanDuel points per game to running backs.
6. Nick Chubb (RB6) - The Cleveland Browns are 7.0-point home favorites against the Cincinnati Bengals, who are the eighth-worst in the league versus running backs. Chubb is the rushing back for the Browns, and he plays a limited role in the passing game. That puts him a step below the top options, even as a big favorite.
7. Aaron Jones (RB8) - The Green Bay Packers are going to win against Washington this weekend -- that isn't a secret. Jones is projected for just 14 carries, and with the over/under set at just 41.5, there isn't a massive scoring upside. The Packers should be in control of this game, though, and Jones will likely end up splitting touches with Jamaal Williams.
8. Melvin Gordon (RB9) - From a defensive matchup perspective, Gordon is in a good spot versus the Jacksonville Jaguars, who are allowing the sixth-most FanDuel points per game to running backs. He is still splitting time with Austin Ekeler and should only be utilized in deeper DRAFTs.
9. Kenyan Drake (RB10) - Drake is seeing significantly more snaps compared to David Johnson, but the production hasn't been there for him in recent weeks. Combine that with a tougher matchup against the Pittsburgh Steelers, and Drake is deep in the rankings this week.
1. Michael Thomas (WR1) - The best receiver in the league is our top projected point-getter this week at 18.7 FanDuel points. The New Orleans Saints carry a 23.50 implied team total against the 49ers, who are strong against the pass. There is no doubt this is a tougher matchup, but Thomas is still projected for more than 10 targets and more than 100 yards.
2. DeAndre Hopkins (WR2) - Hopkins has eight targets or more in all but one game this season, and that is right where we find him this week -- 10.91 projected targets. The Houston Texans carry the third-highest implied team total, sitting at 26.00, and there is no reason not to grab him in DRAFTs.
3. Tyreek Hill (WR3) - Last season when the Kansas City Chiefs played the New England Patriots in the regular season, Hill went for 142 yards, seven receptions, and three touchdowns. With the New England secondary looking mortal in recent games, Hill owns our third-highest projection among receivers.
4. Davante Adams (WR4) - Adams posted over 20 FanDuel points for the first this season in last week's game against the New York Giants -- hopefully a sign of things to come. The Packers have a strong 27.25 implied team total against Washington, a team to attack via the passing game.
5. Chris Godwin/Mike Evans (WR5) - Is it a Godwin week? Is it an Evans week? That is the question the fantasy community has been asking all season long. I don't think anyone has an answer at this point, and that includes me. Draft either one against the Indianapolis Colts.
6. Travis Kelce (TE1) - Kelce is the only tight end to make the list of receivers this week, as you would expect. This game has an over/under up at 48.5 -- the highest on the slate -- making it a natural spot to target. Stack Kelce with Patrick Mahomes for the most potential upside.
7. Stefon Diggs (WR7) - Adam Thielen did return to practice this week -- in a limited capacity -- but is listed as doubtful for Sunday's game. This will continue to make Diggs the number-one wide receiver on the team, and he is up against the Lions, who are allowing 31.7 FanDuel points per game to opposing wide receivers.
8. Julio Jones (WR8) - The Falcons are 3.0-point home favorites against the Carolina Panthers, which gives them an implied team total of 25.00. Jones didn't play last week and is set to return in a soft matchup as the Panthers are allowing 30 FanDuel points per game to receivers.
9. Courtland Sutton (WR10) - Sutton is becoming a WR1 right before our eyes, and with a 12.9 average depth of target, he will always make a great down-field threat. He's lower overall this week since the Denver Broncos have a modest 16.50 implied team total.
We all know you should be prioritizing elite running backs and receivers over taking a quarterback in season-long fantasy, and that should be the same here. This week, there are five quarterbacks who we have projected to score from 20.1 to 22.8 FanDuel points, and another three projected at 18.7 to 19.5. At a certain point, it can be splitting hairs, and it essentially comes down to personal preference, but know that you will be in a good spot at quarterback this week.
1. Lamar Jackson (QB1) - In nothing remotely close to breaking news, Jackson is the top-projected quarterback this week. He is putting up FanDuel points each and every week. Grab him whenever you can. Not sure what else I need to say.
2. Deshaun Watson (QB2) - With five touchdowns in his last two games, Watson has bounced back nicely after a tough game against the Baltimore Ravens. Stack him with Hopkins for some serious upside as they carry a 26-point implied team total.
3. Patrick Mahomes (QB3) - Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs are on the road to take on the New England Patriots in what should be the game of the week. The Patriots' defense is looking rather weak in recent games, and if this turns into a shootout, the KC passing game will come into play, putting Mahomes in a spot to rack up plenty of fantasy points.
4. Jameis Winston (QB4) - Is Winston a great quarterback? Probably not. But he is putting up fantasy points, which is what we care about. He has at least 18 FanDuel points in five of his last six games and gets to take the Colts. They the over/under is set at 47.5 points, and I love this game for a shootout and plenty of fantasy scoring.
5. Matt Ryan (QB6) - Ryan has 96 passing attempts in his last two games and is averaging a touch more than 40 passes per game on the season. The Falcons have seemingly forgotten about their running game, and that is a good thing for Ryan. This game being in a dome helps, too.
6. Aaron Rodgers (QB7) - Can Rodgers post multiple touchdowns against Washington? Yes. Will he have a massive ceiling game? Probably not. Washington has an implied total set at just 14.25 points, and we should see the Packers in control of this game, limiting Rodgers' need to pass the ball.
7. Sam Darnold (QB8) - After a disaster last week against the Cincinnati Bengals, Darnold and the New York Jets are taking on the Miami Dolphins, who are allowing 22.5 FanDuel points per game to opposing quarterbacks. That is the second-most in the league, so Darnold has to be able to get it done in this matchup.
8. Kirk Cousins (QB9) - The Vikings have the highest implied team total on the board, but Cousins is all the way in the third-tier since they are 13.0-point home favorites and likely won't need to pass the ball too much.
9. Drew Brees (QB11) - Brees is projected for 18.1 FanDuel points this week -- which is strong -- but the ceiling here just seems low compared to the other options available. We are in for a strong week for many quarterbacks, but if you're going to stack Brees with Thomas, that gives the Hall of Fame passer more upside.