Daily Fantasy Football: Sannes' Situations to Monitor in Week 14
Week 14 is a buffet where you've crafted every meal on the menu. We've got juicy burgers, the cheesiest pizza, and -- the belle of the ball -- boneless wings waiting to descend down your gullet.
But you have to go through that line of temptation with only one plate to fill.
Not only do we get a healthy serving of stud running backs, but teams like the Kansas City Chiefs -- often omitted from the main slate -- are finally at our disposal once again. That's what happens when you've got 13 games. It gives you lots of fun options, but you can't use all of them.
As a result, Week 14 is one where prioritization reigns. You've got to go through the top studs and the best games to stack, figure out who will sit atop your list, and then see which of these tempting options ultimately gets the squeeze.
Making those choices will force us to dig into the most relevant data on each option and see which one grades out the best with all things considered. That's what we'll try to do today, sorting through all the context around the slate and deciding how we should rank these options for NFL DFS.
We'll start with the stud running backs, outline some value options who could make the salaries of the studs easier to afford, and then discuss other situations dictating how we should play things on Sunday.
The Big Three
Not having Christian McCaffrey here is a major bummer. But even after you take out McCaffrey, we still have the massive workloads of Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry, and Aaron Jones gets a rematch against a team he torched for 236 yards and 3 touchdowns in Week 2. So, how do we rank 'em?
The data to consider most here will be each player's volume and their game environment. The volume analysis will center around their "adjusted opportunities," which is carries plus two-times their target total as targets are worth twice as much as a carry for a running back on FanDuel. The ideal game environment for a running back is a high-scoring tight game as it allows them to get targets all four quarters, pumping up their ceiling.
The table below lays out the key points for each player, sorted by their FanDuel salary. This is for each player's most relevant sample. For Cook and Henry, that's their games with at least 60% of the snaps. For Jones, it's the games he has played with Davante Adams and Jamaal Williams. The "RZ share" column shows the percentage of their team's carries or targets they've gotten inside the red zone.
|Running Back||Adj. Opp.||Yards||RZ Share||Spread||Imp. Total|
As you can see, each player has their advantages. Cook has the best workload, but both Henry and Jones are on teams that are projected to light up the scoreboard. So, once we blend that all together, how do we rank these guys?
Because workload is such an important part of the equation, it's likely best to shove Jones to the bottom of the list. He ranks last in all three volume-based metrics, and we can get a similarly spicy offensive environment from Henry. This doesn't mean that Jones doesn't have upside; he showed that the first time the Green Bay Packers faced the Detroit Lions. It's just hard to compare to those other two.
From a workload perspective, Cook has a leg up on Henry. We saw the downsides of Henry's workload last week as he was riding the bench in a negative script and failed to hit six FanDuel points. It's a serious concern when we have these alternatives.
However, it's abundantly obvious that Henry has the preferred matchup. The Jacksonville Jaguars rank 14th in Rushing Success Rate allowed to opposing backs. Meanwhile, Cook will face the top-ranked Tampa Bay Buccaneers. The path of least resistance goes through Henry.
The question is whether the discrepancy in the matchups can help erase the volume gap between Henry and Cook. It's very possible it can.
Across the full season, the average adjusted opportunity against the Jaguars has been worth 0.63 FanDuel points. That's a good chunk higher than the 0.53 FanDuel points netted on an adjusted opportunity against the Bucs.
If those numbers were to hold (far from a lock due to touchdown variance), Henry would need to be within roughly five adjusted opportunities of Cook to outscore him. That seems very doable. Henry's most relevant workload is just 3.9 fewer adjusted opportunities than Cook's. He's already in striking distance here. His team also has a higher implied total, and the spreads of the games are relatively similar. That's likely enough to give Henry the slightest of edges over Cook.
So, once we consider all the factors here, it does seem as though Henry deserves to sit atop our lists. This is a bit scary given that he just burned us last week, but his ceiling is likely the best on the slate once you account for the team he's facing.
Even with a tough matchup, we can feel good putting Cook second. McCaffrey put up 22.8 FanDuel points against the Bucs back in Week 2 even though he left early due to injury. Alvin Kamara also topped 20 FanDuel points, and his workload isn't quite as good as Cook's. As long as you expect the Vikings to keep this game close (more on that in a bit), Cook's a solid number two choice here.
Truthfully, though, all three of these guys are great options. Even though Jones is third, he has the ability to blow the lid off the slate. As such, they're all worth rostering if you're multi-entering.
But if you want to jam multiple studs into a single lineup -- or one of them with some Chiefs players -- you'll need to save salary somewhere. Thankfully, you do have some value options at running back who can help move the needle.
The Value Plays
Because the salaries on Cook and Henry are both $9,600 or higher, we're going to define the "value" tier as being $6,600 or lower. That means here we're skipping over guys like James Robinson, Chris Carson, Austin Ekeler, Jonathan Taylor, and D'Andre Swift. All of them are viable options (and Ekeler is among the best plays on the slate), so we'll talk about them in later sections. But we need salary-savers, and this section will focus on the players who can help get us there.
Unless things get wild with injuries on Friday, there are eight players you could feasibly consider with a salary of $6,600 or lower. I made the cutoff there so as to include David Montgomery, one of the more appealing options in the group. But he's not the only one who could lend us a hand.
Here's the same table as above except with the value plays in their most relevant samples. Obviously the workloads aren't as good as with the studs, but there are still some positives here.
|Running Back||Adj. Opp.||Yards||RZ Share||Spread||Imp. Total|
The two standouts here are Montgomery and Myles Gaskin. Both grade out as ideal options when trying to save salary.
Those two rank in the top two among value plays in adjusted opportunities, yards per game, and red-zone share. Montgomery's actually second on the entire slate in red-zone share in each back's most relevant sample. You also get that in a close game against a bad defense, so Montgomery checks each box.
Gaskin's situation is a bit more daunting. The Miami Dolphins are 7.5-point underdogs against the Chiefs, meaning their game has the potential to get away from them. But there's still plenty of reason to like Gaskin.
The two big things in Gaskin's favor are the Chiefs' rush defense and his role in the passing game. The Chiefs rank 23rd in Rushing Success Rate allowed to running backs. They care much more about stopping the pass, which is a smart way to play things. But as long as the Dolphins remain close enough to run the ball, they should be able to run it effectively.
Gaskin had just two targets in his return to the lineup last week, but his role there was bigger earlier in the year. He averaged 5.0 targets per game prior to his injury. It's possible he was just being eased back into action off his injury. Even if the Dolphins do fall behind, it's unlikely to zap Gaskin of playing time.
Finally, Gaskin's just on a good team. That matters as we enter the stretch run. The Dolphins need wins, and they're likely to lean on their best players to get them. They've told us throughout the season they think Gaskin is that guy, and their actions should increase our confidence in putting him in our lineups.
Those things may not be quite enough to put Gaskin ahead of Montgomery. Montgomery does have the slight edge in workload, matchup, and game environment. But it is enough to make Gaskin more of a 1B option to Montgomery's 1A rather than being a full tier below.
It's also worth mentioning that it's fully defensible to use Gaskin and Montgomery in the same lineup. That's often risky with value plays because they often lack the requisite upside. But here, both guys get work in the passing game and at the goal line, so that's not as much of a concern. If you're trying to jam in a Chiefs stack or just have extra flexibility at wide receiver, you can absolutely use both.
The other options down here all have their drawbacks. The one who may stand out most is Kenyan Drake. It's a decently tough matchup -- the New York Giants are ninth in Success Rate allowed to opposing backs -- but Drake has a whopping 45.7% of the team's red-zone opportunities since returning from injury. That has allowed him to still come through even while the offense has taken a step back. He's a clear two tiers below both Montgomery and Gaskin, but he is a viable differentiation piece if you're looking to change things up.
It's also worth noting that Drake was limited in practice on Thursday, which could potentially indicate a mid-week injury. In the game Drake missed, Chase Edmonds had 25 carries and 3 targets while playing 95.7% of the snaps. If Drake has to sit, Edmonds leapfrogs both Montgomery and Gaskin as the top value on the slate. Otherwise, if Drake is full on Friday, we can assume he keeps that aforementioned role.
The Short-Handed Panthers
It's almost certain the Carolina Panthers won't have McCaffrey and D.J. Moore this week. Curtis Samuel seems likely to play after being tabbed a close COVID-19 contact, but that's not a lock. It's a tough spot for the Panthers.
But with a depleted Denver Broncos defense on the other side, we've still got to have some interest in the offense.
Starting with the receivers, both Samuel and Robby Anderson would get a bump up in this situation. They were already getting steady volume even with Moore in the mix. Here's their target distribution since Samuel returned from injury in Week 7.
|Past 6 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Anderson would have been in play even if Moore were healthy. The only downside with him is that this game isn't super likely to produce a monster output, but at $6,500, he's still someone we can feel good about plugging into lineups.
Samuel gets the bigger bump because he has more upward mobility in his usage. The deep targets should be pretty concentrated between Samuel and Anderson with Moore out of the picture, so that alone makes Samuel enticing at $5,900.
But the red-zone role is even better than it looks. In addition to having 30.0% of the red-zone targets in that time, Samuel also has four rush attempts inside the 20. That role is likely to stick with McCaffrey out. He is going to get the kinds of high-leverage touches we need, putting him on par with Anderson as a semi-value at receiver.
The appeal in the receivers seems higher than the appeal in Mike Davis. Davis had a great role when McCaffrey initially got hurt. But that role eroded over time, and his 56.9% snap rate in Week 12 was his lowest in a game without McCaffrey this year. You can certainly talk yourself into Davis, but with Gaskin and Montgomery standing out so much more -- and guys like Taylor and Swift in a similar range as pivots -- Davis isn't someone you need in your player pool. This one's all about the pass-catchers.
Stacking the Chiefs and Packers
Given the 13 games on the slate, this is once again a week where we need upside out of our quarterbacks. If they can't get toe 30 FanDuel points, it's hard to justify putting them in a lineup.
From a matchup perspective, the clear advantage belongs to the Packers. They're facing the Lions, who are the worst defense in football, based on numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. The Miami Dolphins are seventh. If you play things based on matchups, Rodgers is your guy.
But clearly, matchups aren't everything. We always want exposure to high-scoring, tight games. So a big part of our process for these two teams revolves around deciding whether we expect the Lions or Dolphins to keep these games close.
The case in favor of the Lions revolves around Week 13. In their first game without Matt Patricia, Matthew Stafford threw for 402 yards and 3 touchdowns. He threw deep -- at least 16 yards downfield -- a season-high 12 times. That's in addition to playing at a faster pace after interim head coach Darrell Bevell said they'd do exactly that.
Interestingly enough, though, Tua Tagovailoa is actually almost even with Stafford in terms of efficiency for the season. Tagovailoa is at 0.12 Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back compared to Stafford at 0.15. NEP is numberFire's expected-points model, and Passing NEP includes deductions for expected points lost on sacks, incompletions, and interceptions. The league-average mark is 0.14. There have been some ugly throws in there, but the overall body of work for Tagovailoa isn't that bad.
Weirdly, the Dolphins' defense may work to Mahomes' advantage, as well. Because they're good, it may actually keep the Chiefs' passing game engaged longer. Two of Mahomes' biggest FanDuel-point totals this year -- a 40 burger against the Baltimore Ravens and 31.28 points against the Bucs -- came while facing top-10 pass defenses. Matchups may not matter for this offense.
If you're looking at 50th- or 75th-percentile outcomes, the advantage likely lies with the Packers. They're playing indoors against a bad defense. That's hard to pass up.
But if one of these games is going to completely blow up, it does seem as if the odds are higher that it's the Chiefs-Dolphins game. That may make the 90th-percentile outcomes here just a smidge more attractive.
This one boils down to how you want to play things in DFS. If you want the cake matchup, take Rodgers and stack him with Davante Adams. But if you -- like me -- sell out to stack shootouts, then there's plenty of reason to drool over the Chiefs.
The same line of thinking should be applied to Adams and Tyreek Hill. You should prioritize the guy you think will be in the tighter game. Straight up, though, it does seem like Adams holds the slight edge
The table below compares each guy's workload in their most relevant sample. For Adams, that's his four full games alongside Allen Lazard. For Hill, it's his games with Sammy Watkins. Here, we'll go with raw targets as opposed to shares because the Chiefs' absurd pass-to-run ratios make a difference.
|Most Relevant Sample||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
If we just look at raw FanDuel points, Adams has topped 20 points in 60% of his games with 30-plus points in 20%. Hill is at 33.3% and 8.3% in those two categories, respectively. If you can pick just one, Adams has the slight edge.
Clearly, Hill's volume has gone up of late, though, as he has double-digit targets in four straight games and five of the past six. He has gotten there in both games since Watkins returned, as well, showing that his role now is better than it was earlier in the season. His true ceiling is higher than Adams', and that does matter. That's why we should allow the preferred game environment to decide for us rather than just picking one in a vacuum.
The good thing is that we can get exposure to these offenses even if we can't quite get to Adams or Hill.
On the Chiefs, that guy is clearly Travis Kelce. He's $8,200, which is lofty for a tight end, but if you view him like a wide receiver -- which he effectively is -- it becomes clear he's worth it. Kelce also has double-digit targets in four of the past five games. Kelce's four 20-point FanDuel games in his past five are more than any other tight end has for the entire season (two). The positional edge you get via Kelce can't be overstated.
For the Packers -- outside of the aforementioned Aaron Jones -- it's Lazard and Robert Tonyan. Neither has had a huge role since Lazard returned, but each target in this offense has a lot of juice with Rodgers at quarterback.
|Past 3 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Tonyan is $5,900 with Lazard at $5,800. Because Tonyan fills tight end, he seems like the preferred route, but both are in play.
In both situations, if you decide to use the studs, it's wise to bring it back with a player on the opposing team. We have pretty logical selections there, too.
On the Dolphins, Gaskin is the obvious choice at $6,000. His low salary helps offset some of the cost tied to Mahomes, Hill, and Kelce.
|Weeks 10, 11, and 13||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
The Chiefs have done a really nice job limiting wide-receiver production this year, so we should rank Gesicki second behind Gaskin. But Parker's a solid third, and Jakeem Grant is at least in play for game stacks at $4,900 as long as he's able to get in a full practice on Friday.
As for the Lions, it seems like the bring-back candidates here are Marvin Jones, T.J. Hockenson, and Swift with Kenny Golladay trending toward another absence. Jones has a tough matchup, but he's getting high-leverage targets, and Hockenson brings some yardage juice to a tough position. Both of those work even if it's not a perfect spot.
Swift's outlook depends on Friday's practice session. He has been limited the first two days this week. However, Bevell said Swift had a good day of practice Wednesday, and he's an additional week removed from his concussion. This is more optimistic than the reporting around Swift has been since he first entered concussion protocol.
If Swift gets in a full practice Friday and is removed from the injury report, he's someone we'll want to use in tournaments. He played 72.9% of the snaps in his final game before the concussion, and he racked up 149 yards from scrimmage on 26 adjusted opportunities. The Packers -- like the Chiefs -- want you to run the ball on them, so if we get Swift off the injury report, he's worthy of some tourney exposure.
An Overlooked Shootout in Tampa
With so many high-powered options on the slate, it's possible the Bucs' game with the Vikings goes overlooked. It shouldn't, though.
The Vikings' offense is the reason we should feel inclined to go here. They're up to eighth in schedule-adjusted passing offense, one spot ahead of the Bucs. Pitting two efficient passing offenses against each other is a good recipe for a bunch of points, and we generally know where the ball is going here.
The plus of them is that when they're both healthy, they monopolize all the targets. Here's the target distribution from Week 3 on, excluding Week 12 when Thielen was out.
|Most Relevant Sample||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
The yardage favors Jefferson; the touchdowns favor Thielen. Thielen has multiple routes to upside, so he should likely hold a slight edge over Jefferson. But with the number of pass attempts likely increasing here, both these guys have even more upside than usual.
After being limited at practice Wednesday due to a hamstring injury, Bucs’ WR Mike Evans didn’t practice today.
— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 10, 2020
Evans finally was looking healthy after his injuries earlier in the year. So, this sucks. It would open up good volume for Brown and Chris Godwin, though.
Even with Evans healthy, those two were getting enough targets to be in play, as was Rob Gronkowski.
|Past 4 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Those shares would inherently go up if Evans were to sit, which is good for them.
Normally, when a high-quality player is out, we want to downgrade the entire offense. That's how things should work most often. But that might not be the case here.
We've already seen Tom Brady dealing with injuries this year. He had just Evans in Week 4, and even with that, he hung 33.5 FanDuel points on the Los Angeles Chargers. He now has both Godwin and Brown, and Gronkowski has been a legit weapon. We should downgrade Brady a tiny bit if Evans sits, but he'd still be in play, and we'd feel good enough about the offense to justify gushing over the others.
It seems as though Godwin should hold a slight edge over Brown. He has more time in this offense to develop a chemistry with Brady, and that matters. But Brown is just $6,500. They're similar to Thielen and Jefferson where both are high-quality plays, and their value does go up if Evans sits.
Gronkowski is over-salaried at $6,200, but he gets high-leverage targets, and a lot of those will be up for grabs if Evans can't go. It's hard to get jazzed about him with Kelce also on the slate and some viable value options, but Gronkowski would objectively be a good play in this spot. He's worth including in game stacks, and there's standalone value here, too, given the kinds of targets he gets.
Mike Glennon Boosts Ryan Tannehill
If we're searching for shootouts, the Jaguars may not be the most obvious place to look. They've got one win this year, and that ain't great. But Mike Glennon is letting that sucker rip, and it should boost our thoughts on this game as a whole.
Glennon has made two starts in place of Gardner Minshew and Jake Luton. The Jags have scored at least 24 points in both games, thanks in large part to Glennon's DGAF mentality. His 9.2-yard aDOT is up from marks of 7.7 and 7.9 from Minshew and Luton, respectively. If you want a shootout, that's a good recipe for getting one.
Of course, a date with the Tennessee Titans' defense doesn't hurt things, either. After the Cleveland Browns' performance last week, the Titans are now 28th in schedule-adjusted defense for the season. It's pretty reasonable to expect the Jags to score points here. That's great for Henry, and it can allow us to go right back to the Titans' passing offense, as well.
Even in a rush-heavy offense, Ryan Tannehill still has the upside necessary to be in play on a full slate. He has at least 28 FanDuel points in three games and topped 26 in another. You can pair him with Henry, too, and get access to almost every yard and likely every point the offense scores.
If you don't go Henry, the other stacking partners with Tannehill are also obvious. Corey Davis blew up last week, but that performance didn't come out of nowhere. He has had respectable volume the whole year, even when we look at just the games he has played with A.J. Brown.
|With Both Active||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
That's not to say that Brown is out of play; the dude is crazy talented and can generate upside even without downfield looks. But Davis is one of the standout plays in the $6,000 range, even with Robby Anderson and Antonio Brown potentially getting bumps up. Davis doesn't need a bump up to be a boss.
Robinson is at 26.5 adjusted opportunities and 106.5 yards per game for the season, which is roughly even to Aaron Jones. Jones, though, gets slightly more red-zone work, and his team is going to generate more red-zone opportunities. That's enough to rank Jones above Robinson in the $8,000 range, but Robinson clearly works for game stacks.
Chark is one of the better value options at wide receiver. He didn't do much in his one game with Glennon, but he led the team with seven targets, and five of those were deep. The struggles and injuries have shoved his salary down to $5,900. With his upside, that's enough to make him a priority whether you're stacking the game or not.
Diagnosing the Chargers' Issues
But with the Atlanta Falcons next on the docket, we have no choice but to talk about the Chargers yet again.
Those issues aren't isolated to one game, either. Over the past four, Justin Herbert is at -0.01 Passing NEP per drop back. A lot of that came from the New England Patriots game, but he was also below average in another and right at the league average in one. He has clearly regressed from the nastiness he was dripping initially.
But in the one plus matchup Herbert had in that time, he shredded the Jets for 27.74 FanDuel points. Although the Falcons have played better of late, they're still ranked 26th against the pass. That makes Herbert a viable play, ranked in a third tier with Tannehill behind guys like Mahomes and Rodgers in tier one and Brady by himself in tier two.
The matchup bodes well for Austin Ekeler, too. Ekeler flopped last week, and the Falcons are good against the rush, but so much of Ekeler's appeal is via his passing-game work. In four full games with Herbert, Ekeler is averaging 10.0 targets per game, helping him get to 122.0 yards from scrimmage. It's tough to go back after the down week, but Ekeler is among the top three options at running back once you consider salary.
The matchup also bodes well for Keenan Allen and Hunter Henry. Even with Ekeler gobbling up a bunch of targets, they've still gotten healthy volume for their position in games with Herbert, Ekeler, and Mike Williams.
|With Herbert, Ekeler, and Williams||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Williams is tough unless you expect this game to get bonkers. The others clearly work, though.
The only problem with Allen is his proximity in salary to Adams and Hill. He's just a $1,100 and $500 discount from those two, respectively, which isn't all that big given that their ceilings are likely much higher than his. It's still conceivable for Allen to out-score them, so he's worthy of exposure, but we should rank him behind Adams and Hill even after considering the salary discount.
One of the bigger reasons to include Herbert-Allen or Herbert-Ekeler stacks in your player pool is that you know which players to run it back with. That's Calvin Ridley.
But in the five games with Jones out or limited, Ridley has 25.4% of the overall targets and 50.0% of the deep targets. Ridley has 110 or more yards in two of those games; he just hasn't found the end zone much. Even with the offense taking a hit, this is still a good spot to grab Ridley and exploit what could be a high-scoring game.
Keke Coutee's Wildly Valuable Role
But Deshaun Watson showed in Week 13 that those reservations were ill-founded.
In his first game without Will Fuller, Coutee had nine total targets with four deep and one in the red zone. We should expect Brandin Cooks' volume to go up as he did miss some time during that game, but there's no denying that Coutee's role is legit.
The aforementioned Chark is one of the best plays below $6,000 at wide receiver. We should likely rank Coutee higher, though, given the quality of his quarterback. Regardless, both are options we can turn to when looking to spend down.
There's other value on the other side of this game, too. We already talked about Montgomery, and Allen Robinson always works, especially with his salary down to $7,000. But Cole Kmet can help save salary if you're not splurging for Kelce.
Kmet's role has been on the rise for a while as he has run more routes than Jimmy Graham in three straight. That finally translated to volume in Week 13 as Kmet finished with seven targets, including a touchdown. Kmet doesn't get downfield targets, which caps his upside, but if you're not going Kelce or another high-upside option, you want to save some salary. Kmet can do that at $4,600 in a plus matchup.
Daniel Jones' Return
When we have Kelce and viable punt options at tight end, it's tougher to justify mid-range tight ends. But as mentioned with Gesicki, that's less of a concern when those guys get high-leverage targets. The same line of thinking applies to Evan Engram with Daniel Jones back this week.
Early in the year, Engram was being used in the old Jason Witten role. There was a magnet preventing him from running downfield routes, and it killed his DFS appeal.
Things have been different recently, though. We've got a five-game sample on this team since Sterling Shepard returned from injury with Jones at quarterback. Engram's usage in that time is really appealing.
|Weeks 7 to 12||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
This is a slate where we need either points or salary-savings out of our tight end. Engram can get points with that usage. And there are at least some salary-savings at $5,700. It makes Engram one of the top non-Kelce options we've got.
Jones' return at least makes Wayne Gallman relevant. In Week 12, Gallman got a season-high five targets, and he went for 135 yards last week with Jones out. That's not terrible at $6,000.
The problems with Gallman are twofold. First, the targets haven't been there outside of Week 12. Second, he lost red-zone work to Alfred Morris last week, and Dion Lewis still mixes in for passing situations. So, there's a path to a decent game for Gallman. But with Montgomery and Gaskin (and potentially Edmonds) at our disposal, it's easy to justify omitting Gallman from your player pool.
Jalen Hurts' First Start
Getting to see Jalen Hurts this week is exciting. He was electric in college, and he plays a brand of football that is fun to watch.
It's just hard to see it leading to an efficient output in Week 14.
Two things are working against Hurts here. The first is the opponent. The New Orleans Saints are up to fourth in schedule-adjusted passing defense. Importantly, they generate pressure on 25.4% of opposing drop backs, and that's a recipe for disaster against this Philadelphia Eagles offensive line.
That's the other thing working against Hurts: his supporting cast ain't great. Yes, Carson Wentz was a big part of the issue with this offense. But even when Hurts entered in Week 13, he took three sacks on 15 drop backs. Hurts' big flaw in college was holding the ball too long and taking sacks; that's not a good blend with this offense in its current state.
The Eagles' offense was unappealing under Wentz because they spread out targets and weren't all that efficient. Those two factors are likely to stick under Hurts, at least for this week. That allows us to remain low on the Eagles' offense while potentially spending up for the Saints' defense at $4,900.
Having Hurts and Taysom Hill start saps the DFS appeal out of both sides of this one as the clock should be running pretty consistently. The one thing that could change that is the status of Latavius Murray.
Murray popped up on the injury report on Thursday with a knee injury. If he can't go, it'd likely give a large chunk of the team's rush attempts to Alvin Kamara. That would lower the concern around his lack of targets with Hill and put Kamara back on the map at $7,800.
The Impact of No Denzel Mims
The New York Jets have had their top three receivers available for four games this year. They've scored at least 27 points in three of them, which is a big boost for their opponents as it keeps games close for longer.
This week, though, the Jets may go right back into the dumpster.
Jets WR Denzel Mims is out for Sunday. He left for Texas to tend to a personal matter and hasn’t returned yet. He won’t be able to clear COVID protocols in time for the game.
— Ralph Vacchiano (@RVacchianoSNY) December 10, 2020
The personal matter is the most important thing here, and you have to hope all is well with Denzel Mims and his family. His absence will have a negative impact on this entire game.
For the season, Sam Darnold has played six games with either one or two of the big three at receiver. In those games, Darnold has averaged -0.26 Passing NEP per drop back. It's a truly hideous number. So while we should expect target bumps for Breshad Perriman and Jamison Crowder in a good matchup, it's hard to see this offense showing life. That puts a lid on everyone's upside.
If the Jets can't score on offense, it allows the Seattle Seahawks to float on cruise control if they so choose. They're 13.5-point favorites, and not many players in perfect lineups come from teams that are that heavily favored.
This is just compounded by what the Seahawks have been doing recently on offense. Their early-down first-half pass rate the past four games is 58.3%, down from 63.2% the first nine weeks. And with Chris Carson still not boasting a great workload, it's hard to get jazzed about him, too.
The odds that Russell Wilson, D.K. Metcalf, and Carson hit value are pretty high. The Jets are terrible, making this a good rebound spot. As such, you can justify using any and all of them. But we want to target players in games that will feature points on both sides, keeping things popping for all four quarters. We're unlikely to get that here, and it does lower the incentive to target the Seahawks ahead of teams like the Packers, Chiefs, Titans, and Bucs.
An Unappealing Shootout
But with the Colts' defense still being solid and the Colts' offense spreading out the volume, it's still a tough shootout to love.
Taylor's salary is up to $7,000, but that's justified. He has at least 114 yards from scrimmage in two straight games.
How you handle Taylor depends on how you view that workload. If you expect it to stick, he's averaging 24.5 adjusted opportunities per game. That's an acceptable number comparable to Gaskin and Montgomery. That's enough where we should shoehorn some Taylor into our tournament lineups.
The reason we can't go much harder than that is A) we don't know if that role will stick, and B) he has still lost red-zone work to Nyheim Hines in that time. Taylor has just 3 of 21 red-zone opportunities in those games compared to 6 opportunities for Hines. So, Taylor's still flawed. He has a path to a good game, which is why we should get some exposure. But we'd need to make sure we get to him after we already have a healthy helping of Gaskin and Montgomery as those two have much steadier roles than Taylor.
Agholor's salary is just $5,200, giving us lots of flexibility to splurge elsewhere. And with that salary comes heavy usage. Importantly, a lot of that usage since Henry Ruggs' return has been high-leverage.
|Past 7 Games||Overall Targets||Deep Targets||RZ Targets|
Last week, specifically, Agholor was threatening an eruption with 11 total targets, 6 of which were at least 16 yards downfield. He just didn't convert on that volume. We've seen him do that plenty of times this year, though, meaning we can buy into the usage and roll out Agholor once again.