This slate is setting up as one of the most fun of the season. We’ve got 13 games, six of which are in the late window. Five games have totals of 50+ points and seven have spreads between 1 and 3.5 points, which should lead to a fairly high scoring week and a lot of tight games.
There are just a lot of great individual plays and game environments that are ripe for scoring, so let’s get to it straight away.
Note: The ownership projections referenced in this article are from our dashboard, which is powered by FanShare. These are updated constantly throughout the weekend.
Popular stacks / Game theory
Mahomes + Hill and/or Kelce
As always, Patrick Mahomes ($8,100 DK; $8,900 FD) is going to draw the most attention when he’s on the main slate. Matchups don’t matter to Chiefs, especially since they are throwing the ball so much and so aggressively. Over their last five games, Kansas City has gone a ridiculous 70% pass-heavy (second-highest) in all situations and they are keeping their foot on the gas when leading (65% pass-heavy when ahead; second-highest). The results have been nothing short of lights out.
In their last five outings, Mahomes is averaging 383.2 yards per game with a 15:1 TD-to-INT ratio and relentlessly funneled targets to his top two receivers in Tyreek Hill ($8,500 DK; $9,000 FD) and Travis Kelce ($7,400 DK; $8,200 FD). In this span, Hill and Kelce alone have accounted for 53.4% of Mahomes’ targets with Hill putting up 43/640/8 while Kelce is averaging an unreal 26.7 DraftKings points per game. While Hill is at least somewhat appropriately priced, the same can’t be said for Kelce. On DraftKings, Kelce is priced like a low-end WR1 and only needs around 16.5 points to pay off his salary. 16.5 points is basically his floor right now.
Mahomes and Kelce will draw the most ownership at their positions and for good reason. It’ll be expensive and chalky to pull off Mahomes-Kelce-Hill stacks, but no team offers the safety and upside that the Chiefs do right now. Just understand you’re going to have to mix in some lower-owned pieces to have a chance at first place if this stack ends up being the highest scoring on the slate.
Rodgers + Adams
After the Chiefs, I suspect Aaron Rodgers ($7,500 DK; $9,100 FD) and Davante Adams ($9,300 DK; $9,600 FD) are going to come in as the second-highest owned stack this week behind Mahomes, Kelce, and Hill. Rodgers is somehow more expensive than Mahomes on FanDuel (by $200) but offers $600 savings off of Mahomes on DraftKings. Last week, Rodgers was mispriced and ended up being the highest owned QB on the slate and I think you can make the same argument on DraftKings once again.
Rodgers has just been a consistent wrecking ball, putting up at least 280 yards or 3+ TDs in 10-of-12 games while Adams is the best play of Week 14 on his own. If you discount his Week 2 game against Detroit where he left early, Adams is averaging 28.7 fantasy points per game in his nine fully healthy starts. That would be the most FPG all-time behind Jerry Rice’s 1987 season where he scored 22 TDs in 12 games (and averaged 26.2 fantasy points per game). The Lions don’t have a single player on their team that has a prayer at slowing down Adams and, outside of maybe Derrick Henry, no player has better touchdown chances than Adams does. Adams already has 16 targets inside of the 10-yard line — which is already the most a WR has seen in a single-season since 2015 when Allen Robinson saw 18 inside-10 targets.
So, how can you play Rodgers-Adams and have a unique build capable of making a run in tournaments?
Well, since Travis Kelce will be the most popular TE this week and there a few strong cheap tight end plays (like Logan Thomas, Irv Smith, and Jordan Akins), it’s going to leave the middle class of tight ends lower-owned. For a full game stack, I love the idea of playing Rodgers-Adams plus T.J. Hocksenson ($5,000 DK; $6,000 FD) all together. Hockenson has been on a roll without Kenny Golladay (hamstring) and is probably slightly underpriced for his role, at least on DraftKings. Since Week 8 (without Golladay), Hockenson is third among TEs in targets (46) behind only Kelce and Darren Waller and Hock has reeled off five games of 60+ yards or a TD in this span. FanShare has Hockenson tabbed as their eighth-most popular tight end this week.
Herbert + Ekeler + Allen
As of Friday morning, FanShare’s DraftKings projections have Justin Herbert ($6,800 DK; $8,300 FD) tagged as their highest-owned QB, Austin Ekeler ($7,000 DK; $7,500 FD) shakes out as their sixth-most popular RB, and Keenan Allen ($7,700 DK; $8,500 FD) is their third-most popular receiver. Herbert is straight up underpriced on DraftKings this week and overpriced on FanDuel, where he costs $300 more than Deshaun Watson and only $600 less than Mahomes.
You can’t ask for a better bounceback spot than the Falcons for the Chargers after last week’s embarrassment. I wrote about this game’s shootout appeal in more detail in Pace Points and, for DFS, there are a number of ways to play it. In tournaments, Herbert stacks will start with Keenan Allen but how many will include one of Austin Ekeler or Hunter Henry? On that note, how many will also add Calvin Ridley on the Falcons side for a full-on four piece game stack? A lot of the individual pieces in this game are going to be popular — Herbert and Ekeler especially — but I love the idea of going all-in if you’re stacking Herbert. You need this game to completely shootout to out-score the Chiefs and Packers, so why not capture all of the upside with at least three pieces from this matchup?
Ridley is almost a must in Herbert stacks. Without Julio Jones, Ridley is going to be peppered with targets and probably won’t end up being overly popular with Adam Thielen and Justin Jefferson priced right below him on both sites. In the four games Julio has missed over the last two seasons, Ridley has gone for 8/91, 5/110, 8/136, and 6/50/1 on 10, 13, 10, and 9 targets.
Cousins + Thielen + Jefferson
For whatever reason, people have a blindspot for Kirk Cousins. Maybe it’s because he’s crumbled so many times in primetime and people just remember those games the most? Maybe it’s because he doesn’t scramble? Or maybe because he’s boring?
Who knows. It’s their loss.
With the ascension of Justin Jefferson ($7,400 DK; $7,800 FD) and consistency of Adam Thielen ($7,000 DK; $7,700 FD), the Vikings are shying away from the run and letting Cousins throw it more. Cousins has 30+ pass attempts in four-straight games after meeting that mark just twice in his previous eight games. In fact, the Vikings were the most run-heavy team when the game was within a score in their first eight games (57% rush rate), but that has since dipped to 47% over their last four outings. Unsurprisingly, Cousins’ stats have spiked in this span as he’s thrown for 290+ yards and multiple scores in four-straight.
Plus, there is an even greater chance that the Vikings have to lean even more on their pass attack this week. The Buccaneers have the best run defense in the league and are limiting opposing runners to a league-low 2.93 yards per carry. With such an amazing front-seven capable of shutting down any run game, opposing team’s have just stayed away from slamming their running backs into a brick wall. Opposing offenses have gone 65% pass-heavy against Buccaneers, which is the highest rate in the league. When their opponents have been behind on the scoreboard, they’ve scrapped their run game completely and gone 72% pass-heavy. That’s also the highest rate in the league.
If Vegas is right about this game — the Bucs’ are favored to win by 6.5 points — we should see the Vikings have to throw a ton to keep up. Tampa’s secondary has been crushed by D.J. Moore (4/96/1), Robert Woods (12/130/1) and Cooper Kupp (11/145), and Tyreek Hill (13/269/3) in their three previous games before their bye and now have to contend with what might be the best WR duo in the league. And that gives Cousins, Jefferson, and Thielen incredible upside that most people have been slow to pick up on. (We are all over it, though. Jefferson is our WR3 and Thielen is our WR5).
Vikings stacks are a phenomenal tournament play once again. Cousins is projected for 3% ownership while Jefferson is at 8% and Thielen is at 10%.
Watson + Cooks
Sandwiched in between Mahomes and Rodgers on DraftKings, I think we’ll see Deshaun Watson ($7,600 DK; $8,000 FD) go off at lower ownership than maybe he should. While I prefer a Cousins-Thielen-Jefferson stack if you’re shooting for lower ownership, Watson is obviously capable of putting up a tournament-winning score. The Bears defense is stout, but probably just a little bit overrated after giving up 17.6 fantasy points to Kirk Cousins, 25.6 to Aaron Rodgers, and 26.1 to Matthew Stafford over their last three games. Watson has really only flopped once all season long and it came against the Browns in tropical storm conditions back in Week 10. Watson’s floor is incredibly high and it’s been boosted because he’s scrambling more, which directly coincided with the firing of Bill O’Brien. Since Week 5, Watson has cleared 20+ rushing yards in every game after failing to do so in 3-of-4 contests to start the year.
Speaking of which, Brandin Cooks has been stellar since the Texans canned O’Brien as he’s gone over 60 yards in 7-of-8 games. The Bears don’t get beat deep often, but they’re still allowing plenty of production to the short and intermediate areas — which is where Cooks sees the majority of his targets. In fact, Chicago is allowing 11.6 fantasy points per game to wide receivers on targets 10-19 yards downfield, which is tied with Las Vegas for sixth-most.
The matchup is better than the public will perceive for the Texans and Cooks ($6,100) provides incredible leverage off of what will be a very popular Robby Anderson ($6,200) on DraftKings.
One-off plays that will be under-owned
Terry McLaurin ($6,700 DK; $7,200 FD) at 49ers — 4% projected ownership
After flopping so hard against the Steelers (2/14 receiving) in his worst game of the year, everyone is going to be off of McLaurin this week. Don’t be scared. Across his previous 11 games, McLaurin was averaging 6.3 receptions and 87.5 yards per game and never dipped below 7 targets in this span. As 3-point underdogs, Washington should have to throw to keep up in this game and no one should be afraid of the 49ers secondary at this point. D.K. Metcalf (12/161/2), Davante Adams (10/173/1), Robert Woods (7/80), and Stefon Diggs (10/90) have all fared well in this matchup over the last five weeks. Plus, McLaurin will provide leverage off of what will be a very popular J.D. McKissic on DraftKings.
Ezekiel Elliott ($6,600 DK) at Bengals — 9% projected ownership
Zeke has underwhelmed all year, but this is one of the best spots I’ve seen to play him in DFS yet. On DraftKings, Elliott will be low-owned with Austin Ekeler (20% projected ownership) priced right above him and David Montgomery (19%) right below despite this being a top-3 matchup for opposing runners. Cincinnati is giving up 5.0 yards per carry (third-most) 149.8 scrimmage yards per game (fifth-most) this season while five of the last 6 RB1’s they’ve faced have scored at least 16 PPR points. What’s more, Zeke has fared far better (22.3 fantasy points per game) in wins compared to losses (13.9) and this game should go in his favor. The Cowboys are installed as 3.5-point favorites over this completely stagnant Bengals team. Since losing Joe Burrow, the Bengals have run just 96 plays on offense (fewest) and averaged just 3.6 yards gained per play (worst) over their last two games.
Note that Zeke is very overpriced on FanDuel ($7,600), where he’s $1,000 less than David Montgomery and $1,600 more than Myles Gaskin.
Jonathan Taylor ($5,800 DK) at Raiders — 7% projected ownership
Is HC Frank Reich finally unleashing Taylor? Well, over his last two games (Week 11 and Week 13), Taylor has handled 42 touches while Hines has 18 and Wilkins has 13. Is this Taylor’s true chance to breakout? The Raiders run defense has been terrible all year long as they are giving up the eighth-most scrimmage yards per game (144.2), the fourth-most yards per carry (4.85) and the most fantasy points (0.79) per carry. It definitely won’t make you feel safe, but Taylor has a top-8 ceiling among RBs this week and will provide leverage off of what will be highly owned Myles Gaskin ($5,600 DK) at a similar price point.
Taylor is pretty overpriced on FanDuel where he costs $400 more than David Montgomery and $1,000 more than Myles Gaskin.
Brandon Aiyuk ($5,400 DK) vs. Washington — 10% projected ownership
Over his last five games, Aiyuk is red-hot with lines of 6/115, 8/91/1, 7/75/1, and 5/95/1 and at least 7 targets in each game. This week, Aiyuk catches a Washington secondary that is allowing 17.1 fantasy points per game to outside wide receivers, which is where Aiyuk lines up 70% of the time. Washington is just far more vulnerable outside than through the slot as 52% of their total production allowed to WRs has come on the boundaries, which ranks as the second-highest rate in the league. And Aiyuk will be leverage off of what will be a chalky Curtis Samuel (19% projected ownership).
Note that Aiyuk is very overpriced on FanDuel ($6,700).
Tim Patrick ($4,200 DK; $5,400 FD) at Panthers — 6% projected ownership
Patrick is just underpriced on both sites for how well he’s playing. Since Drew Lock returned to the lineup back in Week 6, Patrick has gone over 60 yards or scored in 5-of-6 games with Lock under center and now gets a quietly easy matchup. The Panthers are allowing the third-most fantasy points per game (20.0) to receivers that line up out wide, which is where Patrick runs 80% of his routes. Our projections have Patrick tabbed as the top point per dollar play on DraftKings.
K.J. Hamler ($3,000) is also in play on DraftKings if you need a punt. He’s second on the team in targets (31) over Drew Lock’s last four starts.