Now that we have the atypical Tuesday and Wednesday games from the last two weeks behind us, we should be able to fall back into the usual NFL schedule in Week 14. The playoff race is heating up, especially in the NFC East. Washington stunned the Steelers at home to end their attempt at perfection, the Giants also cut down the Seahawks on the road to keep pace with the Football Team based in Landover. To reiterate what I’ve previously passed along, this analysis should be used as a guide centered around playing the percentages to divulge the matchups at both ends of the spectrum. When you see FPG numbers, they are calculated using PPR scoring.
This article is written earlier in the week, so it is very important to take note of all defensive back inactives if you plan to use any recommendations or tail the ATS and/or over/under picks. QBs and receivers can have their fortunes flip in an instant as a result of these absences, shifting target/sit to sit/target outlooks. Sheer target volume can absolutely overcome some of the expected fantasy scoring downside due to a history of struggles facing a coverage shell/s. The same is true for positive game scripts reverting passing attacks to clock-killing ground games, negative scripts massively increasing pace of play in garbage time.
Before lashing out at the family pet upon seeing, for instance, a receiver included in the avoid list posting 100 receiving yards, it would help to (1) check the post-game injury report to see if the smothering counterpart was forced out/limited, and (2) watch the actual plays to see if that receiver was able to shake the difficult shadow -- common within significantly negative game scripts. If I mention weather as an impacting consideration, make sure you check the updated gameday forecast. Without further delay, we have a ton of action to decipher, so let’s get started.
Against the Spread Picks (14-6 ATS)
Kansas City Chiefs (-7.0) at Miami Dolphins
Green Bay Packers (-7.5) at Detroit Lions
Tennessee Titans (-7.5) at Jacksonville Jaguars
Los Angeles Rams (-5.0) vs. New England Patriots
New York Giants (+2.5) vs. Arizona Cardinals
Indianapolis Colts (-3.0) at Las Vegas Raiders
Pittsburgh Steelers (+2.5) at Buffalo Bills
Dallas Cowboys (-4.0) at Cincinnati Bengals
Total Wagers (4-6)
Arizona Cardinals at New York Giants (Under 45.0)
Baltimore Ravens at Cleveland Browns (Over 45.5)
Pittsburgh Steelers at Buffalo Bills (Under 46.5)
Atlanta Falcons at Los Angeles Chargers (Over 49.5)
Matchup of the Week
Michael Thomas, NO ($7.1K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Darius Slay, PHI
NFL fields are not recommended as a place of employment for seeking mercy. After falling into a shadow of DK Metcalf in Week 12 and Davante Adams last week, Darius Slay will now be tasked with trailing Michael Thomas. Slay will not be in man on Thomas the entire game, the Eagles will also fall into a Cover 3 in obvious passing situations (around one-fourth of snaps).
Unfortunately, in addition to CantGuardMike’s fifth-highest FPs/route (FPRt, 0.56) average over his last 23 games, Taysom Hill has connected against Cover 3 on both of his career TD passes: linkedhere andhere. That said, the majority (40-plus percent) of routes from Thomas will go against BigPlaySlay in Cover 1. As you can see for yourself, Adams’ lethaldouble moves (Cover 1) were on full display, and Slay simply couldn’t counter hisphysicality (red zone man). We already saw a similar issue againstMetcalf the previous week.
It’s very possible that the calf and knee injuries he is currently fighting through are significant enough to explain some of his dropoff in performance. Heading into Week 12, Slay had limited his No. 1 shadows to 8.3 FPG. Over his last two, 27.5 FPG. As prefaced, Slay is not going to see any mercy from Thomas. And the physical specimen of Thomas resembles Metcalf more than Adams, albeit with vastly superior route running, and superiorhands.Here is an example of Thomas burning the Falcons’ Cover 3 on a crosser in Week 11.
On 26 percent of total routes run against Cover 1 over the last two seasons, Thomas has found a home for 36 percent of his receptions, 33 percent of yardage, and 37 percent of TDs. It is certainly no surprise that he ranks fifth with 3.11 yards/route run (YPRR) against the man scheme — a 21 percent spike to his overall average. Simply not the time for Slay to be struggling or dealing with nagging injuries.
Close runner up: Tyreek Hill, KC ($8.5K DK | $9.0K FD) vs. Xavien Howard, MIA
Matchups to Target
Ryan Tannehill, TEN ($6.7K DK | $7.9K FD) vs. Jaguars’ Cover 1 | 3
Speaking of the merciless nature of the NFL, times have been incredibly tough on the Jaguars in 2020. After a miraculous victory over Indianapolis in Week 1, Jacksonville surrendered 30-plus points over their next six games, all losses. However, despite losing their next five following their Week 8 bye, they sandwiched a 27-3 defeat to Pittsburgh with four defeats by an average of only 2.8 PPG.
The Jags are 1-11 overall, 1-8 against AFC teams, 1-5 at home, 1-8 in games played outdoors, and 1-7 when playing on grass. For Week 14, they’ll play on their home TIAA Bank Field, an outdoor structure with a Tifway 419 Bermuda Sod playing surface — a natural grass. The matchup could not be any better for Ryan Tannehil. These teams already met in Week 2 when Tannehill threw down 26.8 FPs thanks to a quartet of TD passes. All the more impressive when you consider he played that game without A.J. Brown. In six career games against the Jags, he’s averaging 22.3 FPG with a 12-2 TD-INT ratio.
A shift from a zone-heavy to the current man-heavy scheme this season is significant. During his 24-game Tennessee career when facing Cover 1, the former Texas A&M WR ranks fifth with 0.47 FPs/dropback (FPDb) with a 13 percent spike to his air yards/target. Over the same time against Cover 3, he ranks 12th with 0.40 FPDb to go along with a 10 percent jump in YPA. Jacksonville is playing Cover 1 at the ninth-highest rate (33 percent) and Cover 3 (37 percent) at the seventh-highest.
The potential of continued absences of outside corners Sidney Jones IV and C.J. Henderson could result in Tannehill pacing the position in scoring this week. It’s always possible that Derrick Henry turns in one of his 200-yard rushing performances that could result in reduced passing volume. But the Jags have been better on offense with Mike Glennon at the helm. If Jacksonville can score some points, we will be in significant DFS business with Tannehill.
Taysom Hill, NO ($6.6K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. Eagles’ Cover 1
Since taking over as the starter for the Big Easy, Taysom Hill has secured one of the highest fantasy floors in the game thanks to his legwork. For those opposed to calculators, that’s an average of 13.9 FPG on pure rushing production alone. Without needing to throw a single pass, Hill is already 76 percent of the way toward the 18.3 FPG qualified QB average. News flash: “Tay-some of deez” is also dangerous with his arm.
We really need to be careful with the analytic reliability for Philadelphia. Plugging Jalen Hurts under center last week provided a palpable spark to the entire team. Losing 20-3, Hurts pushed his team into Green Bay territory on three-of-four drives, and ultimately outscored the Packers 13-10. The Eagles’ defense only allowed four of the next 24 offensive plays to gain more than nine yards, “only” Aaron Jones’ 77-yard TD run doing so in the fourth quarter. The forecasted rainy weather in Philly shouldn’t be a problem since winds are expected to be on the mild side.
I’ve already covered the matchup between Michael Thomas and Darius Slay. And I’ve already pointed out that both of “THOR-terback’s” career passing TDs resulted from facing Atlanta’s Cover 3 in Week 13. Issues defending the run could spell trouble against N’Orleans. The Eagles have allowed the 10th-most FPG to RBs (14.6) that’s only worsened to sixth-most over their last four (18.3). With 71 percent of Hill’s carries on designed runs, his game profiles within that RB allowance by Philadelphia.
When defending scrambling QBs, the Eagles are giving up the 12th-most FPG (3.76). Expect that number to rise. Plugging away at their Cover 1 with groundwork, when Philly falls into their Cover 3 on obvious passing downs, they’ll be throwing a welcome mat in front of Hill. Hill’s career FPDb increases by 30 percent to go along with 15.6 percent to his passer rating against Cover 3. Despite his excellent production, Hill’s salaries have only risen slightly. We can even expect to see Hill’s rushing volume maintained by Hill whenever Drew Brees returns from his 11 fractured ribs, and punctured lung.
Jared Goff, LAR ($6.2K DK | $7.2K FD) vs. Patriots’ Cover 0 | 1 | 2 | 3
Jared Goff has thrown for 60 percent of his INTs (six), lost 75 percent of fumbles (three) in 25 percent of 2020 games (three). The fact that those three opponents that have forced nine-of-14 total turnovers are destined for the playoffs could spell trouble at the conclusion of the regular season. However, the combined record of their remaining opponents this season is 20-28. On the other side of the coin, Goff has completed 70 percent of attempts in seven-of-12 games this season. Those seven games have accounted for all five of his outings with 23-or-more FPs scored.
We just need to predict when Goff will complete 70 percent of his passes for a 71 percent chance at 23-plus FPs. Unfortunately, we all know the variables in play are much more complicated. For one, the 49ers have had Goff’s number this season, holding him to 11 FPG over two games. In games where Los Angeles faced a defense playing a top-15 rate of Cover 1 shells (Eagles, Bills, Dolphins, Buccaneers, and Cardinals), Goff averaged 25.5 FPG. The Patriots play from a Cover 1 at the league’s eighth-highest rate (35 percent).
The value of Cooper Kupp versus Jonathan Jones out of the slot is significant. For clarity, Kupp has run 63 percent of his routes from the slot with Robert Woods at 44 percent. We’re much more likely to see either Joejuan Williams or Myles Bryant cover the slot on any snaps without Jones than either Stephon Gilmore or J.C. Jackson. Both of the latter have only defended the slot on around 13 percent of snaps apiece. It’s very possible that Gilmore could end up shadowing Woods this week.
Kupp will have a clear matchup advantage to utilize his 0.62 FPRt against Cover 1, seventh-best since the beginning of 2019. As you might imagine, Goff is also well-established facing Cover 1. “The Goffather” comes in at 11th-best with 0.41 FPDb over the same amount time with a 12.1 percent spike in YPA. Dealing with the defensive mastermind that is Bill Belichick does present a level of difficulty perfectly capable of outsmarting the “such-and-such when facing Cover 1” blanket statement. But these numbers are substantial enough to give Goff consideration in your Thursday-to-Monday DFS lineups.
Allen Robinson II, CHI ($6.8K DK | $7.0K FD) vs. Vernon Hargreaves III, HOU
Prior to Week 9, I passed along the opinion that the usefulness of Allen Robinson II would be extremely matchup-dependent over the rest of the season. Far more than Robinson’s inadequacies, the idea stemmed from Nick Foles’ extreme limitations facing zone coverages. That opinion held true for Foles (3.44 FPs) and Robinson (10.3) in Week 10 against the zone-heavy D of the Vikings. Following their Week 11 bye, the Bears would face the zone defense of Green Bay twice, and another against Minnesota. With a shutdown-level shadow in store in Week 14, Robinson would need to do his business facing the man-heavy schemes of Detroit (W13) and Jacksonville (W16).
Whether related to his injured hip or poor performance, Foles was deposed to the sidelines in favor of Mitchell Trubisky following four straight losses. No stranger to disappointing play himself, Trubisky does have a history of feeding AR12 with volume. Robinson found the end zone twice at Lambeau in Week 12 (27.4 FPs), but another disappointing outing followed facing Detroit (13.5). However, even more significant toward ARob’s Week 14 upside, Bradley Roby was suspended for six games after being busted for performance-enhancing drugs. It wouldn’t matter who was leading the offense against this version of the Texans. They could toss Tyler Bray back there, Robinson would still eat.
Instead of a Roby travel, Robinson will have Vernon Hargreaves III across from him. Hargreaves is permitting 1.50 yards per coverage snap (YPCS, 75th out of 96 qualified outside CBs), 0.31 FPs/coverage snap (FPCS, 65th). If you remember back to Week 7 when Roby was injured early, Hargreaves “replaced” him in coverage of Davante Adams. Aaron Rodgers simply diverted a 50 percent target share (16 targets) to Adams that resulted in a 13/196/3 line, 47.6 FPs. Robinson is not Adams, Trubisky is several dimensions removed from Rodgers. But it will be the exact same Hargreaves.
Davante Adams, GB ($9.3K DK | $9.6K FD) vs. Amani Oruwariye, DET
Penn State alum Amani Oruwariye holds some promise for the Lions after being selected in the fifth-round of the 2019 draft. He’s been the most consistent CB for Detroit this season. However, he’s been a frequent opponent listed across from WRs to target in this article all season. But the Lions have not traveled their CBs this season. That doesn’t eliminate the fact that Oruwariye is found listed, yet again, this time defending Davante Adams. Adams faced the Lions in Week 2 where he pulled a hamstring, costing him the next two games.
While the alignment percentages tell us that Adams will be opposite Oruwariye the most, it was actually Jeffrey Okudah that held Adams without a catch during the first quarter of Week 2 before allowing the extent of his 3/36/0 line in the second prior to exiting the game. Okudah has been on the sidelines during the last two weeks. Adams could also see a good amount of Darryl Roberts who just returned from a five-game absence to exclusively handle RCB. With the NFLs highest rate of Cover 1 shells (45 percent), it simply will not matter who lines up to defend Adams.
Over his last 24 games, Adams ranks second overall with both 0.73 FPRt and 3.57 YPRR against Cover 1. On 25 percent of routes over the same stretch, he’s collected 32 percent of receptions, 39 percent of total yardage, and 30 percent of his TDs. We’ll need a hefty sum of 27.9/28.8 FPs to cover his $9.3K/$9.6K salaries before we net any profit. The Lions allowing the most FPG to opposing RBs (32.7) could dampen that possibility. Although, Detroit’s defense is also giving up the seventh-most FPG to WRs (41.0), and Adams has put up at least 36-to-48 FPs in four-of-10 games. It’s very difficult to bink completely sidestepping those numbers.
Chris Godwin, TB ($6.3K DK | $7.4K FD) vs. Vikings’ Cover 2
The status of Chris Godwin for Week 14 has yet to be determined. He had 10 pins removed from previously broken left index finger on Tuesday:
His absence on Sunday would be a massive loss for Tampa Bay’s offense. The Buccaneers now have the talents of Antonio Brown to cover Godwin or Mike Evans should they miss any time. That said, Godwin’s history of punishing Cover 2 defenses cannot be replaced. In 22 games since the start of 2019 facing Cover 2, Godwin’s FPRt increases by 30 percent to 0.54 (fourth-best), and 2.64 YPRR (sixth-best).
On 14 percent of routes against the shell with two-deep defensive backs, Godwin’s generated 22 percent of his yardage, and 21 percent of TDs. The Vikings play Cover 2 at the league’s second-highest rate (26 percent). Minnesota will play an even number of Cover 3 snaps that fall directly into the breadbasket of Tom Brady, Evans, and Brown. It’s being reported that Godwin should get in a full practice by Friday:
As long as this news proves to be true, firing up Godwin against a Vikings’ defense allowing the sixth-highest rate of 20-or-more yard receptions (15.7 percent), seventh-highest of 40-plus (2.8 percent) could prove profitable.
Corey Davis, TEN ($5.7K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. Luq Barcoo, JAX
Even at A.J. Brown’s lofty $7.3K/$8.0K salaries, I fully expect him to do enough damage on Sunday to exceed floor value. That being said, Corey Davis is still criminally underpriced for Week 14. With the Browns pulling ahead 38-7 at halftime last week, Ryan Tannehill led a furious comeback that fell an onside kick recovery short of a miraculous comeback bid. Outscoring Cleveland 28-3 after they had built a 31-point lead speaks as much in favor of Tennessee’s passing attack as it does toward tarnishing the Browns’ defense. Regardless of the outcome, the Titans’ reputation took a beating from Cleveland on their home soil.
He may not have scored any of their 28 second-half points, but Davis found 7/131/0 — 72 percent — of his 182 receiving yards over the final two quarters. A game like that can leave a bad taste in the mouth. Learning of their ability to score so many points, so quickly can also lend a high-level of confidence as a result. I’ve already covered what the Jaguars have in store for Tennessee heading into their house in the Tannehill analysis, I’ll add to it with details specific to Davis.
Despite being priced as WR31, Davis is averaging the seventh-highest FPRt overall at 0.53. He may not have the ninth-best FPRt of Brown (0.61) against Cover 1 during the last two seasons, but it wouldn’t be the best representation of Davis’ ‘20 breakout to compare their output so far back. However, Davis has proven himself as a valuable resource when facing defenses featuring Cover 1 schemes this season. He’s provided in excess to profit facing Jacksonville in Week 2 (12.6 FPs at $4.0K on DK), Week 8 at Cincinnati (29.8 FPs at $5.1K), and in Week 11 at Baltimore (19.3 FPs at $4.8K). Count on the same in Week 14.
Mark Andrews, BAL ($5.3K DK | $6.6K FD) vs. Browns’ Cover 3 | 4
Figuring out the optimal exposure at TE has been a remarkable challenge. The only week where I knew for an absolute fact that I could place 100 percent exposure into a single TE, independent of game type, came in Week 11. FanDuel allowed TE-eligibility for Taysom Hill during his first NFL start at QB. Sans that tremendous opportunity, it’s simply been a dart throw all season. Attempting to dig into the history of coverage shell success has been promising but, outside of Travis Kelce, the game script variability is extremely tough on the position.
All of that stated, unless we want to pay up for Kelce — which I feel holds just as much merit as paying up for a similarly priced RB or WR, it’s best to keep our TE research abbreviated. Not in the collection of the proper data, mind you, just in the evaluation of said data. In the case of Mark Andrews, he’ll go up against a Cleveland defense allowing the third-most receptions (5.8), seventh-most YPG (57.4), and third-most TDs/game (0.75) to opposing TEs.
Over his last two seasons, “MANdrews” ranks seventh with 0.47 FPRt against Cover 3, and eighth with 0.47 against Cover 4. The Browns feature the fourth-highest rate of Cover 3 (38 percent) and Cover 4 (21 percent) shells. Solid, moving on.
Eric Ebron, PIT ($4.6K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Jordan Poyer, BUF
Equally as promising as the matchup for Mark Andrews, Eric Ebron will face a Buffalo defense passing along FPs to TEs like grandmothers hand out candy on Halloween. They’ve sanctioned the most receptions (6.1), YPG (66.9), and eighth-most TDs/game (0.58) to TEs. Ebron will see a good amount of coverage from SS Jordan Poyer. Poyer has allowed 0.59 YPCS (57th out of 114 qualified safeties) and 0.16 FPCS (65th).
Following a string of disappointing performances culminating in 2.9 FPs in Week 6, “Mr. Red Zone” has averaged 11.8 over his last seven games, and 13.3 over his last three. An average over floor value at TE is very difficult to come by this season.
Jordan Akins, HOU ($2.9K DK | $5.0K FD) vs. Bears’ Cover 4 | 6
The overreaction to Jordan Atkins last week after Will Fuller V was handed a six-game suspension was unwarranted. Akins facing the Colts’ defense that’s crushed TE production all season was enough for me to list Akins as a matchup to avoid. The time is now to cash in your Akins stock. The one statistic Akins did provide us in Week 13 was a 20 percent increase in routes run (74 percent).
Should that involvement continue, only eight other TEs see that level of play. Of those, only Logan Thomas is priced under $3.7K/$5.5K. Akins has given Deshaun Watson plenty of reason to look for him with a 112.1 passer rating when targeted. As for the Bears, they are surrendering the second-most receptions (5.8), fourth-most YPG (60.7), and second-most TDs/game (0.75).
Other matchups to consider:
Aaron Rodgers, GB ($7.5K DK | $9.1K FD) vs. Lions’ Cover 1 | 2
Kirk Cousins, MIN ($6.2K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Buccaneers’ Cover 2 | 4
Tom Brady, TB ($6.9K DK | $7.8K FD) vs. Vikings’ Cover 2
Mitchell Trubisky, CHI ($5.6K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. Texans’ Cover 1 | 3
Justin Herbert, LAC ($6.8K DK | $8.3K FD) vs. Falcons’ Cover 1 | 2 | 3
Keenan Allen, LAC ($7.7K DK | $8.5K FD) vs. Falcons’ Cover 1| 2 | 3
A.J. Brown, TEN ($7.3K DK | $8.0K FD) vs. Tre Herndon, JAX
Amari Cooper, DAL ($6.5K DK | $6.8K FD) vs. LeShaun Sims, CIN
Cooper Kupp, LAR ($6.5K DK | $6.7K FD) vs. Jonathan Jones, NE
Hunter Renfrow, LV ($4.0K DK | $5.3K FD) vs. Colts’ Cover 2 | 6
Travis Kelce, KC ($7.4K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. Eric Rowe, MIA
Dallas Goedert, PHI ($4.0K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Malcolm Jenkins, NO
Rob Gronkowski, TB ($4.8K DK | $6.2K FD) vs. Vikings’ Cover 2
Noah Fant, DEN ($4.1K DK | $5.5K FD) vs. Panthers’ Cover 3
Matchups to Avoid
Kyler Murray, ARI ($7.2K DK | $8.1K FD) vs. Giants’ Cover 2 | 3
We need to be extremely careful when we’re considering a fade on the QB leading the position in pure rushing FPG (10.6). Even though he only ranks 17th in pure passing FPG (15.6), Kyler Murray still ranks third in overall FPG (27.5) thanks to that legwork. Murray was removed from the injury list prior to Week 12, but he continued to see limited practice reps with the Type 1 AC Joint sprain in his throwing shoulder. After averaging 11.5 rushing attempts the previous four weeks, Murray has only averaged five/game since the injury.
Healing that shoulder on the job has come at a 79 percent drop in his rushing FPG. Further complicating his outlook, Murray will face a Giants’ defense permitting the sixth-lowest rushing (1.4) and 12th-fewest passing FPG to opposing QBs (14.2). A chunk of that success is due to a top-12 pass rush generating nearly 19 QB pressures/game. As I’ll cover later, a James Bradberry shadow on Murray’s No. 1 WR, DeAndre Hopkins adds another layer of difficulty toward success. Until we see Murray retake that abandoned carry share, he is far too risky for the price.
Cam Newton, NE ($5.9K DK | $7.7K FD) vs. Rams’ Cover 4 | 6
Scoring as many as 38.9, as low as 2.8 FPs, selecting the precise time for Cam Newton exposure is vitally important. In Week 13, the Patriots simply ragdolled the Chargers and their rookie QB Justin Herbert by a score of 45-0. Newton only passed for 69 yards, but he continued to hog goal-line carries to take a pair of trips into the end zone. If we could count on another 23.6 FPs this week, “SuperCam” would be a value on both platforms. The likelihood of that happening is on the extreme end of unlikely.
The Rams are limiting entire opposing offenses to the second-lowest output this season (76.5 FPG). When facing your typical pocket passer, Los Angeles’ top-five pass rush would pull out all of their tricks to put the opposing QB on the ground. However, DC Brandon Staley will be fully aware of the type of QB they’ll be facing. Expect the Rams to assign a defender to focus entirely on containing Newton within the pocket. In conjunction with their lockdown secondary, elite defensive line, the Week 14 outlook on Newton is bleak, at best.
Derek Carr, LV ($6.0K DK | $7.1K FD) vs. Colts’ Cover 2 | 6
All of the stars aligned for Derek Carr in Week 13. He faced the most generous NFL defense during the weeks since placing what essentially amounts to their entire secondary on IR. When the Jets mounted a solid comeback effort, forcing Carr to take to the air culminated in a 46-yard TD pass to secure the win, and 35.7 FPs.
Carr will not only face an Indianapolis defense limiting opposing QBs to the third-lowest output (15.2 FPG), they’ll do so using the coverage shells that have limited his production the last two seasons. On 13 percent of dropbacks facing Cover 2, Carr has collected 11 percent of his yardage, and six percent of TDs. The Colts play from a Cover 2 at the 11th-highest rate (13 percent). When Carr has faced a Cover 6 on 10 percent of dropbacks, he’s produced seven percent of yardage, and without a single TD. Indy plays from a Cover 6 at the sixth-highest rate (15 percent). Look elsewhere for value at QB.
DeAndre Hopkins, ARI ($7.6K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. James Bradberry, NYG
We’ve learned a great deal about DeAndre Hopkins over the last two weeks. Not necessarily about him personally as much as in conjunction with Kyler Murray. Stephon Gilmore had already limited Nuk to an average of 6.6 FPG over their previous six matchups. Having his coverage hold him to 5.6 of his 10.5 total FPs in Week 12 proved that the presence of Murray wasn’t enough to overcome his struggles against the tight shadow.
Last week, Murray did everything he could to force the ball to Hopkins within the elite Cover 4 and 6 zone of the Rams. Despite sending 13 targets his way, Hopkins could only return the love with 52 yards. He did find the end zone but, ruining a “Nuk scores TD over Jalen Ramsey” headline, it took apick by Maxx Williams to spring him, and into the coverage responsibility of Jordan Fuller. His Week 14 opponent may not garner the headlines of Ramsey, but don’t let that fool you into thinking Hopkins will be set up for success.
James Bradberry is without a doubt a top-10 NFL CB. In 12 games this season, Bradberry has only permitted 0.83 YPCS (13th), 0.19 FPCS (14th), and 0.13 air yards per coverage snap (AYCS, ninth-lowest). We also need to consider that the Giants also bracket opposing No. 1 WRs at the second-highest rate. Just as in the case of the previous two weeks, if we found Hopkins priced outside the top-15 WRs, taking a tourney flier would be justified. Not the case. You can do better with your cap dollars.
Jakobi Meyers, NE ($4.8K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Troy Hill, LAR
As bright as I think Jakobi Meyers’ future is, his Week 14 opponent is overwhelming on a level that should give you pause even in the most populated of GPPs. Even with Jalen Ramsey either shadowing N’Keal Harry or simply staying to one side of their defensive formation, Troy Hill has put together a top-10 season among slot CBs. Hill is only ceding 1.03 YPCS (22nd), 0.22 FPCS (19th), and 0.09 AYCS (ninth) to his coverage responsibilities. Without any TD upside to his current repertoire, Meyers can be avoided entirely in Week 14.
Rashard Higgins, CLE ($4.3K DK | $5.5K FD) vs. Jimmy Smith, BAL
It’s very likely that we’ll see a good amount of the field chasing the Week 13 output (33.5) from Baker Mayfield. The idea is not entirely outside the realm of reason. Mayfield’s last two games with 30-plus FPs came against Cover 1-heavy defenses. His Week 14 opponent, Baltimore, also features a Cover 1 scheme. However, the players constructing the Ravens’ secondary are simply on another level in comparison.
Specifically, in the case of Rashard Higgins, he will fall directly into the Sarlacc inhabiting the Great Pit of Carkoon in the Dune Sea of Tatooine of matchups. On 317 snaps in coverage, Jimmy Smith has surrendered 0.36 YPCS (the best in the NFL), 0.083 FPCS (the best in the NFL), and 0.106 AYCS (the best in the NFL). I think you know what to do.
Keelan Cole, JAX ($3.7K DK | $5.1K FD) vs. Desmond King II, TEN
Ever the optimist, I always try to find any factor in existence providing a glimmer of hope before listing a player as a definite fade. Even with a pair of games exceeding 20, three of 10-plus FPs, Keelan Cole has not provided many reasons for hope in recent weeks. If I’m being perfectly honest, I simply do not see the type of skillset from Cole of a slot receiver destined for a long NFL career.
Should my assessment prove to be entirely inaccurate, Cole will find himself up against a slot defender far more skilled than he did in Week 2 at Tennessee. Desmond King II will defend Cole with the seventh-lowest YPCS (0.76), sixth-lowest FPCS (0.15), and second-lowest AYCS (0.042) among all qualified slot CBs. No thank you.
Darren Waller, LV ($6.8K DK | $7.1K FD) vs. Colts’ Cover 2 | 6
It’ll be tough to fade Darren Waller after the 13/200/2 line he produced against the Jets last week. However, that is precisely what we need to do. For starters, that monster showing led to a significant salary increase. Not entirely unreasonable as long as his opponent presents us with an opportunity to see a profit on that investment.
From a risk averse viewpoint, his Week 14 opponent couldn’t get much worse. The Colts have ghosted opposing TEs all season. Much of that credit goes to Darius Leonard, the All-World LB equipped with the wingspan of a seven-footer. Indy is allowing 8.6 FPG to TEs (second-lowest). Even if we double that number, it would barely cover Wallers’ floor value at $6.8K/$7.1K.
Jared Cook, NO ($3.8K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. T.J. Edwards, PHI
T.J. Edwards is one of the top coverage LBs in the game, completely lost within the disaster of a season for the Eagles. During 156 snaps in coverage, Edwards is surrendering 0.34 YPCS (the best in the NFL), 0.08 FPCS (the best in the NFL), and 0.010 AYCS (the best in the NFL). Literally take out a dart, pull up the list of TEs priced at the bare minimum salary on your computer screen, and throw that dart at your equipment. If it doesn’t penetrate the screen, check for the mark left behind. Ladies and gentlemen, you have … Donald Parham Jr.. Seriously, he’ll run circles around Jared Cook’s Week 14 upside.
Other matchups to avoid:
Josh Allen, BUF ($7.1K DK | $8.2K FD) vs. Steelers’ Cover 1 | 2 | 3
Lamar Jackson, BAL ($7.0K DK | $8.0K FD) vs. Browns’ Cover 3 | 4
Matt Ryan, ATL ($5.7K DK | $7.3K FD) vs. Chargers’ Cover 3
Baker Mayfield, CLE ($5.7K DK | $7.1K FD) vs. Ravens’ Cover 0 | 1
Stefon Diggs, BUF ($7.8K DK | $7.5K FD) vs. Joe Haden, PIT
Brandin Cooks, HOU ($6.1K DK | $6.9K FD) vs. Bears’ Cover 4 | 6
Michael Pittman Jr., IND ($5.0K DK | $5.7K FD) vs. Raiders’ Cover 2 | 6
Josh Reynolds, LAR ($3.8K DK | $5.2K FD) vs. J.C. Jackson, NE
Darius Slayton, NYG ($4.2K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. Patrick Peterson, ARI
N’Keal Harry, NE ($3.1K DK | $5.4K FD) vs. Jalen Ramsey, LAR
T.J. Hockenson, DET ($5.0K DK | $6.0K FD) vs. Packers’ Cover 2 | 4 | 6
Hunter Henry, LAC ($4.4K DK | $5.6K FD) vs. Deion Jones, ATL
Zach Ertz, PHI ($3.7K DK | $5.3K FD) vs. Demario Davis, NO
Jordan Reed, SF ($3.5K DK | $5.0K FD) vs. Washington’s Cover 3 | 4
Tyler Higbee, LAR ($3.5K DK | $5.3K FD) vs. Kyle Dugger, NE