Week 14 Player pool
Welcome back to another Draftkings Player Pool! Week 14 of the NFL season has arrived, and with it comes a monstrous slate of games. It might look overwhelming, but the DFS team has you covered. As always, data was analyzed, decisions were made, and the player pool has been narrowed down for lineup construction. Whether it's a Saturday night brewski or a Sunday morning cup of joe, grab yourself a drink, and let's dive in.
Starting us off at Quarterback is the goat himself. While the Bucs haven't lived up to the preseason hype, Brady has been more fantasy relevant this year than in years past. With a high total and second fastest situation neutral pace while at home, I expect the Buccaneers to come out firing. Minnesota is weak in the secondary and might very well have middle schoolers playing defensive back at this point. I'll have to double-check on that because it could just be that they suck. Minnesota gives up the 7th most yards per game while also allowing the 7th most air yards on the season. They are decent against the run as they allow 4.3 Y/A so the primary vulnerability is through the air. I hate paying this much for a QB with zero rushing equity, but 3-4 TDs should be well within Brady's range of outcomes.
Herbert comes in at 6.8k this week. The analysis here is simple, he is playing the Falcons at home. Look, the kid was demasculated by the Patriots last week, but I expect a strong bounce back week. The Falcons allow the 3rd most yards per game, 2nd most air yards per game, and blitz 31% of the time. The secondary clearly has holes in it and Herbert excels against the Blitz far greater than most expected. While the Atlanta defense has improved, I don't think it's been enough to warrant avoiding Herbert this week. Hopefully Bill and company didn't mentally break him like Gase did to Darnold. Speaking of Darnold, how about that play last week? He was a great play for those large field tournaments, and while you can play him against the Seahawks, I'm going with Tua as my cheaper Quarterback this week. I am essentially betting on Kansas City speeding up the Dolphins which will hopefully cause Miami to finally turn Tua loose. The Chiefs are worse against the run, but the price is right on Tua this week. Miami has 3 running backs out this week, and Tyrann Mathieu is possibly out after injuring his hip during practice this week. If he's out, I like the chances of Miami being able to exploit the middle of that Kansas City secondary. At 5.4k, we don't need a ton out of Tua either.
Derrick Henry kicks off the Running Back's this week at 8.7k. There isn't much to discuss here because anyone can look at this matchup and understand why Henry is a premier play this week. I know, I know, the fade worked last week, but I'm not pushing my luck with Henry here. He will be in several of my lineups. Aaron Jones at 7.6k is a hefty price to pay for someone who barely reaches a 60% rush share. However, the Lions are bottom 3 against the run and Jones has the necessary ceiling required at this price. I will be interested to see the ownership on him tomorrow because there tends to be hesitation when it comes down to putting an expensive Jones in a lineup. Rounding out the 7k and up range is Austin Ekeler. Rob explained on the podcast how ekeler was still an ok play last week even though the Chargers were terrible. He simply has an incredible floor due to his target share. He is averaging 7+ targets a game and that number bumps up to 10 in full games played with Herbert. With a 76% catch rate, last weeks anomaly will quickly be forgotten if Herbert and ekeler can get back on track this week. We also discussed Atlanta's propensity for allowing catches to running backs. They don't allow a ton on the ground, but that's fine because we mostly just care about Ekeler's receiving usage. That's his bread and butter.
Dropping down to the 6k range, I've got D'Andre Swift. I love this kid, and he destroys opponents when he gets a majority of the work. He's still got the Questionable tag so make the pivot to David Montgomery at the same price if he sits. Heck, make the switch anyways if you like Montgomery over Swift. The opportunity/volume is there and it's a matchup we love to exploit. Whether its Green Bay or Houston, both of these guys have great matchups. I love Swift and think Montgomery sucks so I'm just gonna go ahead and say it, I have selection bias with this one. You can also find me on twitter, Cody Ingle (@codyingle) / Twitter, tilting my face off tomorrow when the Lions hand the old man 5 carries on the goal line. Nothing quite like a Jordan Howard esque rushing line from AP to brighten your day. Did I just talk myself out of Swift? Maybe. Check back with me after I've had my coffee tomorrow.
Now that we've established multiple running backs to build around, let's discuss the cheapies this week. McKissic is going to be highly owned and for good reason. He was already seeing 9-10 targets a game and now he gets the usage left behind by Antonio Gibson. He's not going to get you anything running the ball but last weeks 10 catch for 70 yards performance is well within reach. Smith will need to continue getting rid of the ball quickly and Barber is basically Jordan Howard so McKissic will get plenty of action. I personally don't think he has that high of a ceiling because his ADOT is so incredibly low, but if he's seeing 10+ targets does that even matter? Probably not. My final play is Deandre Washington at 4k. He should see 12-15 touches now that Ahmend and Gaskin are both out against the Chiefs. I'm not sure he is that good, but the volume and price have to be placed into consideration. If anything, it's salary relief to jam in some studs.
On to the money maker position. This is where we really want to find our leverage on the field so let's see what the player pool brings this week. Davante Adams doesn't need an introduction. He also doesn't need analysis, he's doing this year what Michael Thomas did last year. NEXT. That all caps statement just sent us over to the Titans where we have AJ Brown and Corey Davis. Davis was a Roster Up lock last week. He is still priced way too cheap, so he is playable once again this week. However, he was our leverage play on a week we faded Derrick Henry and AJ Brown. The Titans offense is efficient, but it typically doesn't have enough to feed all 3 studs at their DFS prices. I like AJ Brown to blow up this week on the receiver side so its likely I have one Titan in each lineup. Preferably Henry or Brown, but Davis likely sneaks in there somewhere. Fading mid-range chalk is typically going to pay off more times than not. I loved Michael Thomas last week and I love him again this week. He's been paying off his price without a TD so the icing on the cake is coming. 47% Air Yards Market Share, 29% Target Share and a 10.1 Average depth of target. What's not to like? Some might say Darius Slay, but I say forget about him. I'm playing Thomas if I can fit him. In another high total, potential pace up spot, the Vikings receivers will once again get plenty of volume. I'm going Thielen this week. It simply comes down to price. They are both expensive so give me the cheaper one with a larger air market and target share. Thielen edges Jefferson in each category so there's my answer.
Moving down the list, I love McLaurin. He has upside, volume and a matchup they desperately need him to capitalize on. F1 has 1,069 air yards on the season while only scoring 3 touchdowns. He has a high enough PPR floor on volume alone so, much like Thomas, that touchdown regression hitting will create significant tournament leverage on the field. Cheers to hoping he cashes in this weekend.
Since I love Brady, I have to like some of his WRs. The hard part about Brady is knowing who to stack him with so don't feel like you have to stack him with my guys. I'm going Godwin and Brown. Godwin gets the volume and is cheaper than Evans. Evans has scored an outrageous number of TDs relative to his yardage total so that has to redistribute to his teammates at some point. They use him near the goal line quite a bit so maintaing these outrageous numbers is possible, but doesn't feel highly probable to me. Brown is a tournament play at his core. He is leverage off the chalkier Samuel and Davis, while also being leverage off his own teammates. If I build 3 Brady lineups, Brown is likely in 2 of them with a double stack still under consideration. His air yards and target share is just as good as Godwin's and Evan's so let's see what they scheme up for him coming out of the bye week. Next up is Chark for the same reason I liked him last week. He is a risk/reward play if there ever was one. Low floor, high ceiling. 34% air yards share, 21% target share, and 13.8 ADOT. With a matchup too good to be true and the peripherals similar to those who have popped in the past, What's not too like? Mike Glennon, that's what. Let's send up a prayer for Chark, shall we?
If you need a cheaper stacking option with Herbert than Ekeler, or even Allen, then check out Mike Williams. At only 4.7k he allows you to triple stack without killing your budget. We all know what he is, he's a big play guy going against a secondary that allows big plays. Simple as that. Breshad Perriman just became chalk. He's cheap, 3.9k, and Mims/Crowder are both out. He should see the majority of targets against a Seattle secondary that can get burned deep. I hate trusting Jets, but wouldn't it be the most Jets thing ever if they were competitive in a game the fans desperately want them to lose? My guys over Jet Up have already deemed December 6th national Greg Williams day. What will the 13th bring? Hopefully a 50 yard bomb from Perriman. My final play of the week at WR is a leverage play off the chalky Perriman. I like me some Darnell Mooney at 3.5k. If you're desparate for cap space or simply trying to win a large field tournament, then I think you should consider Mooney. He has a 26% air yards share while only capitalizing on 43.54% of his air yards this season. Even if your QB is Trubisky/Foles, that number is well below league average for players receiving as many targets as him.
Tight End and Defense
Say it with me now, "High variance positions create high variance outcomes." Thank you and goodnight. Well, almost goodnight. Irv smith is my cheap upside play this week, but only IF Kyle Rudolph is ruled inactive. If Rudolph plays, I will pivot elsewhere. Gesecki will only be in my Tua Stacks. I don't like paying over 4k at TE, but with the Chiefs secondary banged up in the Middle, I like Gesecki. Again, check the Honey Badger's status pregame because he leads the middle of that Kansas City secondary.
At Defense I'm rolling with Rob once again. He's been accurate with his calls on defense this year so I have Seattle as an option against the Jets. STUNNING I KNOW. 3k is more than I care to spend on defense, but let's not act like the upside isn't there. If you want my usual salary saver then drop down to the Eagles at 2.2k. They are cheap, at home, and in a very low totaled game. Taysom Hill holds the ball almost a second longer prior to release than Drew Brees so Philadelphia's 25% Pressure rate can potentially cause problems. We only need one fluky play, and this is the type of play the process has led me to all year. So far, so good.
Correlate QB/WR/TE when possible
Don't worry about QB/RB ownership, create leverage with your WRs
Safe plays are fine, but always factor in a players upside