Week 14 is on deck. Last week was one where you could get away with one-offs and not needing to full-on game stack. This slate sets up as one that it will be more crucial to target the right games and get them right.
If you are new to this article, this will be a source for you to get all the necessary information that you might not recognize quickly looking through the slate early in the week. The goal of this first look is to help leave no stone unturned before the week kicks off. Being able to project for different potential outcomes of players and games is a crucial trait to have as a DFS player. Here is my first look and deep dive on the Week 14 slate:
Game Script Targets
Vikings +6.5 (@ TB)
WR Justin Jefferson (MIN, @ TB)
WR Adam Thielen (MIN, @ TB)
TE Irv Smith Jr (MIN, @ TB)
The Vikings passing game is going to be asked to do a lot more this week. The Bucs defense is one that is always focused on stopping the run at all costs. This will force the Vikings to open up the passing game on offense. They already have a very capable WR duo for stacking purposes despite being so run-heavy. Adam Thielen has a 29% target share on the season and Justin Jefferson sits at 25%. Offenses against the Bucs have thrown at a 55% rate. That is the 3rd highest pass rate against this year highlighting their pass funnel. The Vikings offense is the only offense to have two wide receivers with three Tier 1 Fantasy finishes.
A pivot or addition to the Vikings stack is Irv Smith Jr. with Kyle Rudolph unlikely to play. In three of the four games he has seen at least four targets: 15.0, 11.5, and 10.4 fantasy points.
Colts -3 (@ LV)
RB Jonathan Taylor (IND, @ LV)
Jonathan Taylor’s rookie season has been a rollercoaster ride. Against the Raiders, it is worth another spin. The Jets’ running back duo that had not seen much of the field all season were able to step in for Frank Gore and run for 178 on 30 carries. No team has given up more FP/carry than the Raiders. Taylor has been much more productive in his past two games. It sets up for a snowball effect where Taylor is forcing their hands to put him into a workhorse type role this week. Similar to Cam Akers, the Colts should be ready to let the rookie loose.
Bengals +3.5 (vs. DAL)
WR Tyler Boyd (CIN, vs. DAL)
Tyler Boyd is worth a look if your builds are needy for a low salary WR. The Bengals offense has clearly not looked the same without Joe Burrow but had stiff challenges in the Dolphins and Giants defenses. This week they get a Cowboys defense who are much more friendly to the passing game. They are allowing the highest passer rating to opposing QBs (141.9). The Cowboys have been friendly to slot WRs when targeted. They allow the second-most yards/target against slot WRs per SIS (9.93). In a game that will be low owned Boyd is a sneaky value play.
WR D.K. Metcalf (SEA, vs. NYJ)
The Seahawks offense has taken a big step backwards over the past month or so. Despite that, Metcalf has still been producing. I am not concerned about a negative game script for him either. They have consistently been underwhelming against lesser teams and only one of their 8 wins have come by more than 10 points. The Jets present what has been a funnel type defense for Metcalf too. Really the only spot they can hang their hat is their run defense being formidable. They allow 3.99 YPC to RBs. On the flip side, they are allowing 8.02 YPA (3rd most). This sets up as a perfect bounce-back spot for Russ to start cooking again. Per PFF, Metcalf leads the NFL in deep passing yardage (20+ yard targets) with 480 yards on those throws. His NFL leading 1511 air yards point to his defense stretching usage too. The Jets allow the 3rd most FPPG to WRs through deep passing. Metcalf could be in for another monster week.
RB J.D. McKissic (WAS, @ SF)
McKissic is a clear value this week with no Antonio Gibson (Out). Looking at our FPTS/$ projections, he ranks as the 6th best FanDuel RB value and 4th best RB value on DraftKings. The zone heavy defensive scheme that the 49ers run has played to the favor of McKissic in past matchups. Against two above-average zone usage defenses in the Steelers and Giants, he saw 10 and 14 targets. The Football Team sit as 3-point underdogs and if they need to work from behind they will fully commit to McKissic. With the Football Team trailing in Week 9 and 10 he saw a 83% and 71% snap share. Simply put, Running back targets are more valuable than carries for fantasy purposes. McKissic has a great chance at seeing the most targets among all RBs this week.
RB Aaron Jones (GB, @ DET)
Aaron Jones best game of the season by far came against these same Lions. He was able to rack up 236 total yards and two TDs on 22 touches. It is no surprise as the Lions allow the most schedule adjusted FPPG to RBs. With high-end receivers in smash spots, the salary relief with Jones compared to Dalvin Cook and Derrick Henry is a higher upside build. The highest team total of the slate belongs to the Packers highlighting the fantasy points on the table (31.50 team total).
RB Dalvin Cook (MIN, @ TB)
With defenses honing in on stopping the run-heavy Vikings offense, Dalvin Cook has started to slow down with his efficiency. In three of his last four games, he has had less than 4.0 YPC. Dalvin’s touch upside is limited in negative game scripts as well (6.5-point underdogs). His two lowest touch games came in two of their losses with less than 20 in both. The Bucs have been extremely consistent at limiting RB fantasy production over the past two seasons. Just looking at this year, they rank the 3rd toughest schedule adjusted matchup for RBs.
RB Miles Sanders (PHI, vs. NO)
Miles Sanders' workload has been a disaster for fantasy. In his last two games he has 18 touches, a 58.5% snap rate, and 4 targets. A matchup against arguably the toughest run defense won’t do him any favors either. They have been the hardest schedule adjusted matchup for RBs and allow the 2nd fewest YPC (3.23). Sanders has been treated as a game script dependent back recently with Boston Scott handling more comeback mode snaps and routes. As 7-point underdogs and facing the slowest pace offense in the NFL, Sanders is in for a tough week.
WR A.J. Brown (TEN, @ JAX)
One of the biggest overachievers this year based on XFP has been A.J. Brown. He has scored the 6th most fantasy points above expectation at WR. In what could easily turn into an ugly game against the Jaguars, there will be less opportunities for Brown to make good on his targets. Corey Davis is an ascending player in their offense with two more targets than Brown in the last three games. Jonnu Smith is also likely to return to play this week giving Brown a tougher fight for targets. When leading by 7+ points, the Titans have a 62% run rate on the season. Brown has a very shaky floor here as the Jaguars could struggle to keep it competitive.
Pace of Play
Giants (vs. ARI) - Cardinals fastest neutral game script pace
Bengals (vs. DAL) - Bengals 14th fastest neutral game pace -> Cowboys 2nd fastest
Jaguars (vs. TEN) - Jaguars Bottom 10 neutral game pace -> Titans 3rd fastest
Football Team (@ SF) - 49ers 3rd slowest neutral pace -> Washington 4th fastest
Eagles (vs. NO) - Saints slowest neutral game pace
Projected Fast Pace Game:
Chargers vs Falcons - Both teams are Top 10 in neutral game pace of play