FanDuel Daily Fantasy Football Helper: Week 13
Welcome to our weekly FanDuel NFL primer, 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 daily fantasy tools at your disposal. In particular, our weekly projections can help you nail down who might be the slate's top scorers and best values, while 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.
Now, let's run through some of this week's top plays of the slate.
Russell Wilson ($9,000 on FanDuel): After torching everything in his path over the first half of the season, Russell Wilson has come back down to earth lately, scoring 14.40, 20.08, and 11.92 FanDuel points over his last three games. That, coupled with Pete Carroll's recent comments about scaling back Seattle's pass attempts, makes it more difficult to trust Wilson's ceiling moving forward, even with a plus matchup on deck against the Giants. Still, if Wilson's done it before, he can do it again, and he's proven he can still post high scores without chucking it 40 times. He's projected for the highest score in this week's projections.
Deshaun Watson ($8,200): Deshaun Watson has posted at least 24 FanDuel points in six of the last seven games, and the lone exception was due to high winds in Cleveland (Week 10). Watson's stellar play now has him ranked behind only Patrick Mahomes and Aaron Rodgers ($8,500) in Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back, demonstrating just how efficient he's been. He's also ramped up his rushing over this span, averaging 9 carries for 33.6 yards per game. Indianapolis ranks eighth in schedule-adjusted pass defense, per numberFire's metrics, so this isn't a gimme matchup, but an appealing 50.5 total suggests a high-scoring contest. The loss of Will Fuller to suspension definitely hurts, but Watson is still worth considering on a limited quarterback slate.
Justin Herbert ($7,900): Although they've occasionally had their moments, the Patriots haven't been a defense to fear in 2020, ranking 17th against the pass in our metrics. Meanwhile, Justin Herbert has emerged as a budding star, throwing for 300 yards or multiple scores in all 10 starts. In fact, only Kyler Murray ($8,700) and Russell Wilson have averaged more FanDuel points per game on the slate. The Chargers play at the fourth-fasted situation neutral pace, per Football Outsiders, which has helped Herbert to the eighth-most pass attempts in the league despite not starting until Week 2.
Dalvin Cook ($10,500): With Dalvin Cook coming off a disappointing performance against the Panthers, and Vikings offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak saying Cook is "kind of beat up," perhaps he sees a slight dip in roster percentage this week -- particularly when there's a surging Derrick Henry at roughly the same salary. But last week's modest output was due in part to a negative game script -- Kirk Cousins threw a season-high 45 passes -- and Cook was hobbled with a mid-game ankle injury. Despite Kubiak's comments, the star running back said he's "good to go," and we shouldn't worry about a negative game script against a one-win Jacksonville squad. Minnesota is a 10.5-point favorite against a team that ranks 30th in adjusted run defense, so expect Cook to bounce back in a big way this week. He tops this week's running back projections.
Derrick Henry ($10,000): After pretty much single-handedly annihilating the Colts and earning a spot on the Week 12 perfect lineup, I'm guessing Henry sees a significant boost in popularity this week against Cleveland. Not only do the Browns rank 26th in adjusted run defense, but this game sport the slate's highest total (53.5), giving us a potential fantasy-rich game environment. Henry's lack of targets always leaves him at risk of a low floor if he's held out of the end zone, but we've now witnessed that slate-breaking fantastic ceiling twice this year (37.5 and 39.4 points). For what it's worth, coach Mike Vrabel has also expressed a desire to pass the ball to Henry more often, which would only make him more lethal.
Austin Ekeler ($7,000): The Chargers sure didn't waste any time getting Austin Ekeler involved in the offense again, as he would go on to tally 14 carries and a whopping 16 targets in last week's loss to Buffalo. Even on a half-PPR site, targets are effectively worth twice that of a carry, so following that performance, it isn't surprising to see Ekeler projected as the best point-per-dollar running back value on the slate. A negative game script likely contributed to all those targets, but even if the Chargers get out to a lead against the Patriots, Ekeler can take advantage on the ground against the 22nd-ranked adjusted run defense.
David Montgomery ($6,200): David Montgomery isn't the most exciting running back, but his role remains appealing, exceeding an 80% snap rate in his last six fully healthy games while averaging 14.2 carries and 5.8 targets. That's all well and good, but the real selling point this week is his matchup against Detroit, which ranks 27th in adjusted run defense and has allowed the more FanDuel points per game to running backs. The Bears are 3.0-point home favorites over the Lions this week. Additionally, Josh Jacobs has missed practice so far this week, so if he's ruled out, then Devontae Booker ($6,000) would emerge as another value option.
Davante Adams ($9,500): Excluding an injury-shortened Week 2, Adams has averaged 12.0 targets across eight games, and he remarkably leads all pass-catchers in red-zone targets despite the missed time early in the season. The high salary makes him tough to fit in if you're opting for Dalvin Cook or Derrick Henry, but a middle-of-the-road Eagles pass defense shouldn't be able to contain the superstar wideout, particularly after we saw cornerback Darius Slay get annihilated by DK Metcalf on Monday Night Football.
DK Metcalf ($8,500): Speaking of Metcalf, even with Tyler Lockett ($7,900) having a pair of massive spike weeks this season, it's Metcalf who's emerged as the more consistent weekly option. Excluding some down weeks in tougher spots against Jalen Ramsey and Patrick Peterson, most teams haven't had any answer for Metcalf, who's averaging just over eight targets per game and leads the entire league in air yards. He could see a lot of James Bradberry this week, but after hauling in 10-of-13 targets for 177 yards against Slay, we shouldn't underestimate Metcalf's chances of another big game.
Brandin Cooks ($6,500) and Keke Coutee ($4,800): With no Will Fuller, Kenny Stills, or Randall Cobb, that leaves us with Brandin Cooks and Keke Coutee at the top of the pecking order for Houston. Although Cooks saw just five targets in each of the last two games, he's averaged 8.1 per game over his last seven, which is actually higher than Fuller's 7.6 over that span. While the matchup against Indianapolis isn't great, Cooks could now see massive volume in a condensed target tree. As the new number two wideout, Coutee is a wild card as a seldom used player this season, but he projects for just under seven targets, which we would happily take at this salary. Both wide receivers rate as strong value plays in this week's projections.
Jarvis Landry ($6,000): With poor weather plaguing the Browns since Odell Beckham went down in Week 7, Jarvis Landry entered Week 12 showing little in the box score despite being the new number one option. But Landry finally cashed in against Jacksonville, turning 11 targets into 8 receptions for 143 yards and a score. This week, Baker Mayfield should be forced to drop back more often than usual as a 6.0-point underdog in a high-total game versus Tennessee, potentially opening the door for another big week from Landry. No Cleveland pass-catcher comes close to his usage, which has bumped up to a 33.7% target share and 34.9% air yards share over the past four games. Tennessee ranks just 22nd in adjusted pass defense.
Darren Waller ($7,000): No Travis Kelce means Darren Waller sits in a tier of his own on the main slate. The Raiders' offense did a total faceplant against the Falcons, but they get the perfect bounce-back opportunity against the winless Jets, who now rank 32nd in adjusted pass defense. Kelce and Waller are the only tight ends averaging over eight targets a game this season, and Waller is far and away Derek Carr's favorite target in the red zone, with his 16 red-zone targets ranking third among all pass-catchers.
Austin Hooper ($5,300): The Browns rank second-to-last in passing play percentage, leaving only so many targets to go around most weeks. But as noted earlier, Mayfield could find himself playing catch-up against the Titans, which should help the volume of a secondary pass-catcher like Austin Hooper, whose weekly targets have been all over the place, ranging anywhere from 2 to 10. The matchup is right, too, as the Titans rank 24th in Target Success Rate allowed to tight ends. Hooper projects as one of the top tight end values.
Minnesota D/ST ($4,300): If you've got the extra cash, the Miami D/ST ($4,900) is a fine choice against Cincinnati, which projects as the top defensive unit this week. But otherwise, dropping down to Minnesota's defense is a viable alternative against the Jaguars. Jacksonville is a 10.5-point underdog, which should mean a whole lot of pass attempts from Mike Glennon, who has been pedestrian throughout his career -- last week's start was his first since 2017. The Vikings haven't been anything special on defense, but as numberFire's 16th-ranked overall unit, they should be up to the task.
Green Bay D/ST ($4,100): The struggles of Carson Wentz are well-documented at this point, as he leads the league in both sacks (46) and interceptions (15) by a wide margin. A pass-heavy game script likely awaits him as an 8.0-point road underdog to the Packers, so we shouldn't be surprised if he increases his "lead" in both categories.