Due to Tampa Bay losing three-of-four games, the attention given to the tremendous results from Tom Brady this season is lacking. Already surpassing his passing TD total from last season (16 games) in 12 games, Brady is averaging more TDs through the air (2.33) than he has since 2016. He currently ranks eighth with 18.7 pure passing FPG with the fourth-highest rate of air yards per attempt (9.84). He’ll face a Vikings’ defense surrendering the 10th-most pure passing FPG (17.0), the seventh-most YPG allowed (261.7), and ninth-highest YPA (7.2). Minnesota has been particularly generous on deep passes where they’ve ceded the sixth-highest rate of 20-plus completions, seventh-highest of 40-plus.
A recent report passed along that Brady, unsurprisingly, holds the authority of calling audibles in response to defensive looks:
Since Brady’s historical data indicates clear deficiencies when facing particular zone shells, this information only further strengthens the need to be picky before DFS exposure. We happen to be in luck in Week 14 on several fronts. First of all, let’s get the fact out that the Vikings play predominantly from a zone (fourth-highest rate). When they do play man coverage on just under one-fourth of passing snaps, Brady will eat them alive. When he’s faced Cover 1 (man) over his last 28 games, “California Cool” has seen a seven percent increase in YPA, 19 percent increase in air yards/attempt, and has a 3.7-to-1 TD-INT ratio.
But the Vikings feature the second-highest rate of Cover 2 snaps this season. When Brady has faced that zone scheme over the same 28 games, “Tom Terrific'' ranks ninth with 0.36 FPs/dropback (FPDb) along with the sixth-highest TD rate (7.2 percent) when facing Cover 2 among 36 qualified QBs. Not bad at all from a 43-year-old, father of three independent of the “GOAT” label so frequently tossed at him. The second reason luck has shined upon us — on Brady, as well — is that, despite some concern that Mike Evans could miss Week 14:
However, even if Evans was held out, I would still be all over Brady this week.
The Bottom Line: The reason for that confidence is due to Chris Godwin and Rob Gronkowski. Godwin ranks fourth among all receivers over his last 22 games when facing Cover 2 with 0.54 FPs/route run (FPRt), sixth with 2.64 yards/route run (YPRR). I’ll save the analysis on Gronk until later, but I will pass along that it is a plus toward Brady’s upside. Despite all of this statistical support in favor of Brady, our third lucky break, he is only expected to be rostered in between two-and-four percent of main slate lineups. Ludicrous. I have such complete confidence in Brady’s Week 14 upside that I’m perfectly fine with exposure in all DFS game types. We’ll need 20.7/23.4 FPs at his $6.9K/$7.8K salaries to turn a profit. The metrics support those numbers as his floor.
As you might have noticed, this serves as the second week in a row with Mike Glennon-featured analysis. While the “Ginger Giraffe” didn’t exactly set the world on fire in Week 13 at Minnesota, he served the purpose of allowing exposure to high-priced studs, and provided five percent over value on DK. As long as you listened to my advice to avoid him on FD at $6.8K, the value extended reciprocally. With Gardner Minshew II now healthy, a number of the populous is calling for Glennon to be benched. Not so fast. I do agree that Minshew likely provides the better long-term potential but, under Glennon, the Jags have only lost the last two games by five combined points.
Also described in last week’s edition, the other reason we should be patient with Glennon is that he’s shown improvements when facing the zone shells that have plagued his career. Prior to throwing this interception in overtime last week by Harrison Smith, Glennon completed seven-of-10 attempts for 81 yards opposed by a Cover 2. Those numbers won’t help your lineup bink, but those 0.29 FPDb represent a drastic improvement over the 0.09 he provided over his previous 30 dropbacks in 2019. As “Napoleon Dynamite” told reporters after the game:
I agree. Let’s be sure to keep in mind that Glennon will not face as many Cover 2 snaps this Sunday as he did from Minnesota’s second-highest NFL rate. The Titans have played the seventh-highest rate of man and Cover 1 snaps in 2010. While we only have 120 dropbacks from Glennon over his last two seasons, his YPA increases by 15 percent, and passer rating by nine percent opposed by Cover 1.
The Bottom Line: Neither the Vikings or the Titans offer much of a pass rush. However, a strong pass rush is not as important to a zone-heavy defense as it is to one featuring Cover 1. That’s precisely why Tennessee is permitting the fifth-highest FPG to opposing QBs (21.4), third-highest to WRs (42.8) this season. Glennon has yet to establish a connection with D.J. Chark Jr. but, due to the time they’ve spent together on the scout team, he does have a solid rapport with rookie Collin Johnson:
Once again, we have an opportunity to roster Glennon on DK in order to add exposure to Derrick Henry, Davante Adams, Travis Kelce, etc. As long as he can return another 15 FPs toward a profit on DK — avoid on FD, we will be in GPP-business with around one-to-three percent of the field.
Taysom Hill, NO at PHI ($6.6K DK | $7.7K FD | O/U: 44.0 | ExpOwn%: 1-3%)
Ryan Tannehill, TEN at JAX ($6.7K DK | $7.9K FD | O/U: 53.0 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
Jalen Hurts, PHI vs. NO ($5.1K DK | $6.6K FD | O/U: 44.0 | ExpOwn%: 1-4%)
Wayne Gallman Jr., NYG vs. ARI ($5.7K DK | $6.0K FD | O/U: 45.0 | ExpOwn%: 1-4%)
The secret is out. Wayne Gallman Jr. is finally fulfilling the promise many expected for him coming out of Clemson. Averaging 16.3 FPs over his last six games, Gallman is creating a profile that could possibly land him a multi-year contract on the open market in 2021 with the potential for a share of a starting role. The 135 rushing yards he racked up during the Giants’ 17-12 upset in Seattle should not be underestimated. Even including last Sunday, the Seahawks are only allowing an average of 97.7 YPG to opposing backfields (fifth-best). Gallman eclipsed 60 percent of that number on this 60-yard run alone.
If not for Alfred Morris vultering what should have been his goal-to-go TD, Gallman would now have a TD scored in six straight games. By averaging 8.4 YPC last week, he more than doubled up on what Seattle has allotted (4.0). To be clear, the numbers I’m about to share are not locked away behind an analytic company paywall, they are freely available on NFL.com. Gallman’s Week 14 opponent, Arizona, is granting 123 rushing YPG (11th-highest), 4.5 YPC (12th), 27.9 percent of rushing attempts have resulted in first downs (sixth), and 22.9 FPG to RBs (16th).
The Bottom Line: The Cardinals may not have the fractured run defense of the Lions, but how do you explain Gallman only projected to be owned in between one-to-four percent of lineups? The Giants do have some definite concerns along the O-line. However, they haven’t stood in the way of Gallman’s run of success. The fact that the same O-line that allowed 17 pressures/game from Week 7 until Week 11 only gave up an average of four/game over the last two speaks volumes. With Daniel Jones set to return, Gallman could turn out to be one of the most valuable GPP RBs from the Week 14 main slate.
D’Andre Swift, DET vs. GB ($6.5K DK | $6.9K FD | O/U: 55.0 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
Speaking of players returning from injury, D’Andre Swift’s return to the lineup could make Sunday’s game with Green Bay extremely interesting:
Prior to Swift’s return to practice this week, news circulated of concern that he could be sidelined indefinitely due to lingering effects resulting from a scary concussion. Brain injury recoveries are always unique to the individual. Whereas one may immediately clear the protocol in the minimum time allowed, others can suffer career-ending symptoms from seemingly identical forces. After dedicating over 10 years of my professional career toward the prevention of future concussions in sports, allow me to say that we are a long way away from solving the problem.
All of that said, Swift appears to have turned a corner toward being active this Sunday. Prior to his injury, removing his lousy Week 8 showing against the punishing Colts’ defense, Swift is averaging 19.8 FPG over his last five games. Only five RBs have averaged more this season. Swift is not a bruising, north-south plodder, he offers the kind of explosiveness where binked tournaments are captured. For all of their flaws, the Lions do a tremendous job of creating seams ahead of their RBs. Facing a Packers’ run defense giving up the third-most FPG to RBs this season (28.8) could tip the balance of this game in Detroit’s favor.
The Bottom Line: It would be so much easier to explain why Swift is only anticipated to be owned in four-to-six percent of lineups than the numbers for Gallman. Even if he is active, Swift could simply play a few snaps before realizing he isn’t ready. We definitely need to weigh the risks. If you end up on the side of exposure, Swift’s ability to elevate his floor with 7.8 FPG on receiving volume alone (ninth-best) — 1.77 YPRR (seventh) — should be more than enough to overcome any initial reduction in carries.
Ronald Jones, TB vs. MIN ($6.1K DK | $6.3K FD | O/U: 52.0 | ExpOwn%: 2-4%)
Kenyan Drake, ARI at NYG ($5.5K DK | $6.5K FD | O/U: 45.0 | ExpOwn%: 2-4%)
Clyde Edwards-Helaire, KC at MIA ($5.9K DK | $6.4K FD | O/U: 49.5 | ExpOwn%: 2-4%)
Phillip Lindsay, DEN at CAR ($4.3K DK | $5.8K FD | O/U: 46.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Ito Smith, ATL at LAC ($4.4K DK | $5.2K FD | O/U: | ExpOwn%: >1%)
With a road matchup with the Buccaneers on the docket, the Vikings will see no less than six different coverage schemes at a significant rate on Sunday. Whereas Cover 1 and 3 shells are par for the course in the NFL, it takes a specific skillset in order to defeat the zone drops of four-or-more deep defenders. For Justin Jefferson, not only is he one of the most dangerous threats against Cover 1, the rookie is already establishing himself as a menace to the Cover 4 and 6 schemes that prove too much for many of the best WRs in the business. We actually have a spectacular video consisting of every reception Jefferson made during his Week 10 showing against Chicago. JJ put together an 8/135/0 line facing many of the challenging zones he’ll see this Sunday.
If you scroll to the seven second mark, we see the Bears in a Cover 6. Also referred to as a “Half-Half-Quarter,” they have three deep defenders stationed over three receivers on the boundary, with Buster Skrine stationed in man on Jefferson. Don’t even think for a moment that Minnesota didn’t intentionally force them away from a zone, into man using this clever alignment. It may not seem like much, but the wiggle Jefferson shows Skrine just prior to his cut to the outside set the 10-year veteran up to take this improper path that ended in the missed tackle. Scrolling ahead to 24 seconds, we see Chicago in a Cover 3. Jefferson knows he only needs to find a hole in the zone and sit. The brutality he displays after the catch is a bonus, forcing five different Bears to finally bring him down.
At the 34-second mark, we see Chicago in a Cover 6 and, once again, we see the Vikings forcing the Bears into Cover 2-man on Jefferson’s side of the field. Even with the knowledge of dedicated safety assistance over the top, Jaylon Johnson is simply taken out of his shoes by Jefferson’s shiftiness to mask his break. A simple slant on third-and-eight turns into a 15-yard gain. Had Johnson not grabbed JJ as he fell, this could’ve resulted in a massive gain. Pushing ahead to 43 seconds, Chicago is stationed in Quarters (Cover 4). Once again, Jefferson displays his ability to diagnose the coverage, turning a post down the seam, precisely behind the LBs where the middle of the field is open. The result is a 53-yard, field-flipping display.
To close out the film review, skip to 1:26. Another Cover 4, this time with the assistance of play action. We see Jefferson with Kyle Fuller over the top. Looking at the subsequent angle, Jefferson puts Fuller on skates with the same wiggle to score a 16-yard pickup on the comeback. It is that same shiftiness that we see here against Jacksonville in Cover 1 last week. However, you really get a sense for how entirely unguardable Jefferson is for man defenders. He has Luq Barcoo turning in every which direction simply trying to follow his path to the end zone. Entirely reminiscent of the double-moves by Davante Adams. Simply unfair.
The Bottom Line: Already placing himself into the elite route-running category, Jefferson is on a path toward a HOF career if he can avoid injury. As for Tampa Bay, even with Jamel Dean looking like a go for Sunday, the Bucs will still struggle to contain the LSU product. To really define my point, Jefferson ranks within the top-20 WRs facing Cover 1, Cover 2, Cover 3, Cover 4, and Cover 6 schemes. Tampa Bay can attempt to confuse Kirk Cousins through coverage masking, but it’s been the addition of Jefferson that has catapulted the veteran QB into the very elite at his position. Since we have yet to see a dedicated shadow on Jefferson, that could possibly prove to be his kryptonite. We will not see anyone travel with Jefferson this week. The fact that his expected ownership will teeter between four-and-six percent places him squarely within the GPP discussion.
Tim Patrick, DEN at CAR ($4.2K DK | $5.4K FD | O/U: 46.5 | ExpOwn%: 2-5%)
I am far from a supporter of Drew Lock’s. I would even go as far as to say that I doubt the Denver front offices ability to properly evaluate QBs. Yes, that includes GM John Elway. And do not be surprised to see the Broncos go after a new QB of the future in the 2021 draft. However, Denver has done a decent job locating quality wideouts. Courtland Sutton fits the bill as a future superstar WR1, worthy of their first-round pick. TEs Noah Fant and Albert Okwuegbunam were worth every penny of the draft capital it took to acquire, as they will one day terrorize opposing defenses. The brass also snagged UDFA Tim Patrick after he was waived by the Ravens and 49ers.
With Sutton and Okwuegbunam out for the season, Patrick has taken a massive step forward to become the ‘20 outside WR for the Broncos. Lock pretty much details the importance of Patrick here:
With four games over his last eight with at least 17 FPs, Patrick has also established himself as an asset to DFS degenerates. The only games standing in has way since Week 3 from double-digit FPs in each were Week 7 to KC, the catastrophe that was Week 12 sans a single QB on the gameday roster. Well, Patrick has already corrected that poor performance against the Chiefs. It only took Patrick four receptions to score twice — including this TD in the coverage of Brashaud Breeland — to score 20.4 FPs last week.
The Bottom Line: Despite that consistency, less than stellar play from Lock, Patrick continues to be ignored in DFS. With an expected ownership between two-and-five percent, it might be a good idea to plan for some exposure. Patrick will face a Carolina Cover 3 that’s consented to the second-most receptions (22.3), third-most YPG (243.3), third-most TDs/game (2.33), and second-most FPG to opposing WR units over their last three games. We don’t need Lock to produce top-five QB output for Patrick to have a big game. At $4.2k/$5.4K, anything in excess of 12.6/16.2 FPs will be profit dropped into our pockets.
Quintez Cephus, DET vs. GB ($3.2K DK | $5.0K FD | O/U: 55.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
I’m not even going to attempt to convince you that Quintez Cephus is a major piece of Detroit’s future. While I believe that to be the case, it’s irrelevant toward why we should be rostering him this week in GPPs. For a little background, Cephus converted the most bench press reps among WRs (23) at the most recent Combine. When he followed that up with a 4.73 40-time, many immediately stuck a fork into his future. Big mistake. Cephus doesn’t need straight line speed in order to produce. He utilizes an ability to quickly diagnose coverages, plus agility, strength, and reliable hands.
As you can see here while collecting his first career TD last week at Chicago, he uses each of those traits at the expense of Kyle Fuller in Cover 6. A former first-round selection with verified 4.49-speed, Next Gen Stats details Cephus gaining 1.3 yards of separation before falling into the end zone. However, Cephus is not yet ready to overcome the challenge of man coverage. For Week 14 purposes, that hole in his game will not stand in his way. The Packers play more than two-thirds of snaps from a zone. More specifically, they feature the fourth-highest rate of Cover 6 shells.
The Bottom Line: Green Bay will also play from a Cover 2 at the 12th-highest rate. Since the footage above already highlights Cephus’ ability to punish Cover 6, I’ll go over his Cover 2 numbers. Cephus ranks 10th-best this season with 0.47 FPRt when facing Cover 2. He is also 2nd with 2.93 YPRR against the two-deep shell, generating 36 percent of his 237 total receiving yards on only 18 percent of routes. When Jeffrey Okudah was asked during Combine interviews who had been the best WR he faced while at Ohio State:
Perhaps this won’t be the week where Cephus begins paving his way toward fantasy usefulness. With the Lions playing for next season, they’ve loosened the reins on their fifth-round rookie to see what he can do. Facing a stylistic-fit in opponent, exposure to Cephus at under one percent ownership is certainly worthy of a few tourney darts.
Michael Thomas, NO at PHI ($7.1K DK | $7.3K FD | O/U: 44.0 | ExpOwn%: 6-8%)
Amari Cooper, DAL at CIN ($6.5K DK | $6.8K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: 1-3%)
Greg Ward, PHI vs. NO ($3.1K DK | $5.0K FD | O/U: 44.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Collin Johnson, JAX vs. TEN ($3.6K DK | $5.1K FD | O/U: 53.0 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Chad Hansen, HOU at CHI ($3.9K DK | $5.1K FD | O/U: 44.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Brandon Zylstra, CAR vs. DEN ($3.0K DK | $4.5K FD | O/U: 46.5 | ExpOwn%: >1%)
Rob Gronkowski, TB vs. MIN ($4.8K DK | $6.2K FD | O/U: 52.0 | ExpOwn%: >1-2%)
As alluded to above, I am expecting Rob Gronkowski to challenge to be the second-most successful receiver for the Bucs on Sunday. For starters, we have this:
As much as they might try, the Vikings simply cannot replace Eric Kendricks. The former UCLA Bruin can arguably be referred to as the preeminent coverage LB in the game, standing right next to Darius Leonard and Fred Warner. In his place, Todd Davis will be tasked with covering Gronk on a good number of routes. Davis is giving up 1.63 yards/coverage snap (98th out of 106 qualified LBs), 0.41 FPs/coverage snap (98th), and 0.102 air yards/coverage snap (86th).
I’ve already established that the Vikings play Cover 2 at the second-highest rate. My data suggests that Gronkowski has averaged 0.43 FPRt (12th-best), 10.9 air yards/target (10th), and scored 17 percent of his total TDs (seventh) on only 12 percent of routes when facing Cover 2 over his last 25 games. In order to roster the future HOFer, we do need to pay TE6/TE4 salaries.
The Bottom Line: Gronkowski has provided at least 13 FPs in five of his last seven games. Both of those down games coincided with off games for Tom Brady. That’s actually a good thing. Circling Week 9 facing the Saints, Week 11 opposite the Rams in red were easy calls. We will need 14.4/18.6 FPs to turn a profit. Without Kendricks, at home, with historical analytics on Brady pointing toward a big game … I am anticipating at least a 6/60/1 resulting line. That’s good enough for exposure on both platforms.
In a vacuum, you’re not giving exposure to Dalton Schultz. Not without Dak Prescott feeding the offense. However, football is not played in a vacuum. Even with Andy Dalton under center, protected by one of the most difficult patchwork O-lines to watch, the Cowboys will be defended by the Bengals. The pass rush for Cincy has been literally non-existent, the run defense not far behind. Although, the secondary, led by Jessie Bates III and William Jackson III, has been better than expected. That concludes the list of positives coming from the Bengals’ D.
The Bottom Line: Cincinnati has been bleeding FPs to TEs at every stop. They are handing out the fourth-most receptions (5.6), the most YPG (68.5), and the seventh-most TDs (0.58). It’s no surprise they are giving up the fourth-most FPG to the position all season (16.1). With Schultz running 86 percent of routes, garnering 86 percent of targets from Dallas’ TEs … 86 percent of the Bengals’ TE allowance amounts to 14 FPs. That’s good for a 25 percent profit on DK, eight percent shy of profit on FD. Those are perfectly acceptable returns from the dearth of TE upside this season.
Mike Gesicki, MIA vs. KC ($4.5K DK | $5.7K FD | O/U: 49.5 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
Jonnu Smith, TEN at JAX ($3.9K DK | $5.4K FD | O/U: 53.0 | ExpOwn%: >1-2%)
Cole Kmet, CHI vs. HOU ($2.9K DK | $4.6K FD | O/U: 44.5 | ExpOwn%: >1-2%)
Irv Smith Jr., MIN at TB ($3.1K DK | $5.1K FD | O/U: 52.0 | ExpOwn%: >1-2%)
New York Giants, NYG vs. ARI ($2.6K DK | $3.7K FD | O/U: 45.0 | ExpOwn%: 5-7%)
Washington Football Team, WAS at SF ($2.8K DK | $3.9K FD | O/U: 43.5 | ExpOwn%: 4-6%)
New Orleans Saints, NO at PHI ($3.8K DK | $4.9K FD | O/U: 44.0 | ExpOwn%: 3-5%)
GPP Passing Game Stacks
Pay particular attention to the labels between each receiving option. Here are the guidelines:
Plus (+) = Optimal receiving stack
Plus/Minus (+/-) = Triple stack option
Plus/or (+/or) = More than one optimal receiving stack and worthy triple stack option
Or = More than one worthy secondary option in a triple stack
The combined salary listings are calculated triple stacks consisting of the QB plus the first two receiving options.
Aaron Rodgers + Davante Adams +/- Aaron Jones or Allen Lazard or Marquez Valdes-Scantling or Robert Tonyan or Jamaal Williams
Green Bay Packers’ 11 | 21 | 12 Personnel at Detroit Lions’ Cover 1 | 2
Line: -7.5 | O/U: 55.0 | Implied: 31.25 | Combined Salary: $24.4K DK | $27.4K FD
Tom Brady + Chris Godwin +/- Mike Evans or Rob Gronkowski or Antonio Brown or Ronald Jones
Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ 11 | 12 Personnel vs. Minnesota Vikings’ Cover 2
Line: -6.5 | O/U: 52.0 | Implied: 29.25 | Combined Salary: $19.8K DK | $22.5K FD
Ryan Tannehill + A.J. Brown +/- Corey Davis or Jonnu Smith
Titans’ 11 | 12 Personnel at Jacksonville Jaguars’ Cover 1 | 3
Line: -7.5 | O/U: 53.0 | Implied: 30.25 | Combined Salary: $19.7K DK | $22.7K FD
Kirk Cousins + Justin Jefferson +/- Dalvin Cook or Adam Thielen or Irv Smith Jr.
Vikings’ 11 | 12 Personnel at Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cover 2 | 4
Line: +6.5 | O/U: 52.0 | Implied: 22.75 | Combined Salary: $23.0K DK | $25.5K FD
Chicago Bears’ 11 Personnel vs. Houston Texans’ Cover 1 | 3
Line: | O/U: | Implied: | Combined Salary: $18.9K DK | $20.4K FD
Jacksonville Jaguars’ 11 Personnel vs. Tennessee Titans’ Cover 1 | 2
Line: +7.5 | O/U: 53.0 | Implied: 22.75 | Combined Salary: $17.9K DK | $20.5K FD
Optimal RB + DST Stacks (All Contest Types)
Chris Carson + Seattle Seahawks DST vs. New York Jets
Line: -13.5 | O/U: 47.0 | Implied for Opponent: 16.75 | Combined Salary: $9.9K DK | $12.7K FD
Derrick Henry + Tennessee Titans DST at Jacksonville Jaguars
Line: -7.5 | O/U: 53.0 | Implied for Opponent: 22.75 | Combined Salary: $11.8K DK | $13.5K FD
Ezekiel Elliott + Dallas Cowboys DST at Cincinnati Bengals
Line: -4.0 | O/U: 43.5 | Implied for Opponent: 19.75 | Combined Salary: $9.0K DK | $11.1K FD
Jonathan Taylor + Indianapolis Colts DST at Las Vegas Raiders
Line: -3.0 | O/U: 51.5 | Implied for Opponent: 24.25 | Combined Salary: $9.0K DK | $11.8K FD
DraftKings’ Afternoon Tiers (All Contest Types)
Ranked in order of Week 13 upside
“>” = Greater upside than
“≥” = Greater than or equal upside to
“+” = Check health status
“≠” = Will not play
“Ω” = Check status of teammate, possibility of elevated upside
DraftKings’ Primetime Tiers (All Contest Types)
Ranked in order of Week 13 upside
“>” = Greater upside than
“≥” = Greater than or equal upside to
“+” = Check health status
“Ω” = Check status of teammate, possibility of elevated upside