4 Daily Fantasy Football Matchups to Exploit in Week 14
The beauty of daily fantasy football is that, unlike a season-long draft where someone is tied to their top players all year, any top players in the NFL can make their way into your lineup. While that can be a blessing, it can also be a curse.
Although you're able to roster Austin Ekeler, Jonathan Taylor, and Najee Harris all at once if you want, it is unlikely that all three running backs are optimal plays at their respective salaries for a particular week. There are many elements to decide which players are the best plays, and a large aspect of daily fantasy is the matchup a player has.
While usually encompassed in some respects inside the salary figure, a soft matchup can carry a good running back to a great week. On the other hand, a tough matchup can make superstars suboptimal to roster.
Which matchups are lurking in this weekend's games that we can take advantage of on FanDuel?
Cowboys Passing Attack vs. The Football Team Secondary
Dallas has a healthy 25.75-point implied team total. They're going to score points in Week 14. It's just a tough bargain to allocate salary to Ezekiel Elliott or Tony Pollard when so many other backs have better roles.
Enter Dak Prescott.
The talented -- albeit slightly struggling -- quarterback gets a bounce-back spot against Washington. The Football Team's secondary has been dreadful much of the season, and they're still allowing the third-most Passing Net Expected Points (NEP) per drop back to opposing passers (0.29).
He's easy to stack, as well. The high-upside guys in this offense are CeeDee Lamb ($7,800), Amari Cooper ($6,700), and Michael Gallup ($6,100). They were the only three players with a target share better than 12.0% in Week 13, and two come closer to a value salary.
Saquon Barkley vs. The Chargers Run Defense
Whatever happens between now and kickoff, I don't want to get separated from Saquon Barkley.
In the past two weeks now fully up to speed, Barkley has played 80.3% of New York's offensive snaps. He's seen 26.0 adjusted opportunities (carries plus 2x targets) in that span, as well. That figure includes nine targets in Week 13 as the Giants fell behind. Daily fantasy running backs are so much more valuable when they're impactful in any game script.
At just $7,200, Barkley's a true feature back in the very best matchup in the NFL. The Chargers are a team that keeps no secret -- they like to funnel you to run the ball, take short passes, and try to work down the field a handful of yards at a time. That's led to Los Angeles allowing 0.15 Rushing NEP per carry to opposing rock-toters this year -- the very worst mark in the NFL.
Daniel Jones and Mike Glennon are questionable to play -- and Jake Fromm is waiting in the wings. I'm not Joe Judge, but against a defense that actively wants to let you run the ball, Saquon should get all the work he can handle. He's their best path to offense.
Teams are smarter than you might think. Eight different backs have had at least 17 carries against the Chargers this season. Five of them scored a touchdown, as well. The Giants' staff -- sans "The Clapper" -- should be able to figure this one out.
Travis Kelce vs. The Raiders
In his last five games against the Raiders, Kelce is averaging 7.2 receptions, 110.2 yards, and 0.6 touchdowns per game. That's been through a variety of different scripts and defensive coordinators. For whatever reason, Las Vegas just has a personnel issue when it comes to stopping Kelce.
Obviously, Kelce is one of the top tight end talents in the sport, and his monster game earlier this season is one of many that tight ends have had against the Raiders in 2021. According to Brandon Gdula's Adjusted Fantasy Points Allowed metric, Las Vegas is allowing 1.63 Adjusted FanDuel points per target to tight ends. That's the fourth-worst mark in the league.
Volume is a sure thing for Kelce in this matchup. He's seen at least eight targets each of those five games against the Raiders. He also sees 7.5 targets per game on average for this season -- good for a 25.0% share.
I enjoy successful FanDuel lineups more than my football team, so I'll be high-fiving with the rest of you as Travis Kelce likely hammers the Raiders for another monstrous output.
Falcons D/ST vs. Giants Offensive Line
The Atlanta Falcons' defense is nothing special, but their matchup just might be.
At 0.12 Defensive NEP per play, the Falcons have the fifth-worst defense in the league according to numberFire's schedule-adjusted metrics. It's downright bad. Using the Atlanta D/ST at $3,500 this weekend requires one assumption -- the Carolina Panthers are worse.
The Panthers are in a dire situation approaching the end of their season. Christian McCaffrey is lost for the season, their offensive line is still allowing a 28% pressure rate that's second-worst in the league, and Cam Newton was benched after a five-completion day in Miami last time we saw him.
Carolina has posted -0.14 Offensive NEP per play the past five weeks, and they just fired Joe Brady over their bye week. Could a new coordinator and a forgivable matchup help Carolina score some points? Sure.
Atlanta's quietly been serviceable each of the last three weeks with at least 6.0 FanDuel points. That was against the Patriots and Buccaneers in two of the three spots. Carolina currently has the second-worst offense the last five weeks behind Houston.
The Falcons could be a unique way to access this low 43.5-point total with the Panthers' defense all the way up at $4,800 on FanDuel.