The NFL Game Breakdown will be a weekly analysis of every game on the NFL schedule in extreme detail. From targets to game flow and other matchup variables, this article will be your one-stop-shop for everything you could ever need to prepare for DraftKings NFL contests.
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PAGE 3: KC @ DEN, NE @ NYG, ARI @ SEA, HOU @ CIN
Chiefs @ Broncos
Point Total: 41.5
Spread: Broncos -6
If there’s one game I won’t be afraid to completely fade for fantasy purposes this week it’s this one. Peyton Manning has now thrown 3 TDs versus 8 INTs in his last four games, and while both Demaryius Thomas and Emmanuel Sanders have been producing it’s been a weekly struggle to figure out who to use between the two for fantasy. Sanders is actually banged up at the moment (practice injury) and questionable for this game. If he doesn’t play Thomas would definitely be a play you’d have to consider. While the Chiefs have been better of late versus the pass Thomas still burned them for over 100 yards back in week 2 and would be in line for 12+ targets with no Sanders. He’ll be in my plans if Sanders can’t go.
Here’s how the Broncos have distributed their workload at RB the past two weeks:
While Ronnie Hillman was named the starter for Denver last week he was essentially shut down by the Indy D in week 9 and ended up ceding more work to CJ Anderson again. The truth is it may not matter at the moment who is taking carries for Denver as they’ve been un able to establish a consistent ground game (outside of 1 game vs Green Bay) and have a really tough matchup this week versus Kansas City. The Chiefs have only allowed one 100 yard rusher all season and have also gone four weeks now without giving up a rushing TD as well. This isn’t a high upside spot for either Denver RB and both are an easy fade me.
The Chiefs Charcandrick West has taken over the workhorse role at RB for the Chiefs and posted 207 yards and 2 TDs in his last two games. While the matchup admittedly isn’t great for West keep in mind that Jamaal Charles ran for over 120 yards versus Denver in week 2, and Frank Gore and Ahmad Bradshaw both scored TDs versus them last week as well. Considering that West is likely to see 80% of all offensive snaps in this game I’ll be at least considering him for tournament lineups this week. Volume is crucial when picking RBs and not many are getting bigger workloads than West is right now.
The Chiefs passing game is quite simply off limits to me this week. The Chiefs have gone back to playing ultra conservative and haven’t had a receiver top 75 yards in their last three games. They’ll be facing the Denver defense who, even without Aqib Talib, will be next to impossible to score against via the pass (especially at home). Denver’s only given up 7 passing TDs through 8 games this year and Alex Smith’s only thrown for more than 1 TD twice all season. Don’t get fancy, just avoid this spot.
Gameflow: As mentioned previously this game isn’t one to target for fantasy purposes. The Chiefs have been rolling lately and haven’t allowed more than 18 points in a game since week 4. Meanwhile the Broncos are really falling apart on offense and will be without one of their stars on D (and possible on offense too). In a tight division game I really like this spot for a KC upset.
Chiefs 20 Broncos 17
– Demaryius Thomas $7400 (if no Sanders)
– Chiefs D $2600
– Charcandrick West $4800
Patriots @ Giants
Point Total: 54.5
Spread: Patriots -7
Tom Brady had his lowest fantasy output of the season in week 9 against the Redskins but a lot of that had to do with game planning and game flow. The Patriots took an early lead in the game last week and then ran the ball with LeGarrette Blount 29 times against a bad Skins run D. This week the Pats get the Giants however who’ve allowed some big passing games to elite QBs like Tony Romo and Drew Brees already this year. With a game total of nearly 55 points this game has loads of fantasy potential and I’d expect Brady to bounce back with a big game here, include him in your plans for week 10.
With Dion Lewis out, LeGarrette Blount should handle most of the early down work for the Pats but the passing downs will likely be split by numerous players, including Brandon Boldin and James White. I wouldn’t get too cute here. None of the Lewis replacements this week have his ability as a pass catcher or runner, and with Blount facing a Giants D who have allowed over 100 yards rushing in each of their last three games, he’s likely the best play here anyways. I’ll consider Blount as a tournament play at RB and will be fading the rest of the Pats RBs entirely.
The main receiver you need to consider from this game for the Patriots is TE Rob Gronkowski. The Giants have gotten beaten up by good pass catching TE’s all year and with no real pass rush to pressure Brady, and no elite LBs to use in coverage, the Giants will have a tough time limiting Gronk to even an average day. I consider Gronk a near must play this weekend and would even use him in the flex spot this week as I don’t think there’s many receivers who legitimately have the upside he does this week… In his third game back from injury Brandon LaFell was a great value play for people last week but has seen his price rise by $900 to $4100 in week 10. However, with Prince Amukamara looking unlikely for week 10 I’d definitely consider LaFell again as he’ll likely draw Jayron Hosley in coverage and avoid the much more proficient Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie (who will be on Julian Edelman). LaFell’s still great value in my mind this week and someone I’ll definitely be using in various places.
The Patriots defense has been picking it up of late. They’re now third in the league in sacks and have also now allowed only 1 passing TD in their last two games. Outside of two monster games versus the 49ers and the Saints (two of the worst defenses in the league) Eli has been completely average/bad for fantasy purposes this year and has recorded 4 games of 15 points or less. While Manning could certainly rise to the occasion here and post a big game versus his old rival this isn’t 2007 and the Giants quite frankly aren’t anywhere near as good as their opponents this time around. I’m fine fading Eli and another shock Giants win.
Here’s the distribution of passing targets for the Giants from the past two games:
While the Patriots secondary isn’t invulnerable to giving up yards or TDs they haven’t allowed a WR to gain more than 100 yards against them since week 1. Odell Beckham Jr. got heavily targeted last week but will probably see much tougher coverage from the Pats who did well in shutting down the Skins top weapon last weekend. Beckham Jr. is by no means a clear fade as he’s proven capable of rising to the occasion in tough matchups in the past, but he is someone I’ll limit my exposure to this week as I think the most likely scenario is that the Patriots at least limit how big a game he has here… If Beckham Jr. is blanketed in double coverage all game then don’t be shocked if one of the Giants secondary receivers ends up having a big day. With the Pats D being so good versus the run the Giants could easily turn to former Patriot Shane Vereen for a little help. At $4300 Vereen’s a tournament consideration for me this week as the Giants will need production from somewhere else and his prowess in the pass game will undoubtedly come in handy at some point with the Giants such big underdogs.
Gameflow: I really like the way the Pats defense has been playing. They’ve been near shutdown the past couple of games and have really become tough to run against. The Giants offense has obviously been moving it well of late but after two incredibly soft matchups this one is likely going to turn out much different for them. The Pats are on a mission this year and facing an old rival I doubt they’ll have trouble getting up for this game.
Patriots 34 Giants 17
– Tom Brady $8600
– Rob Gronkowski $8000
– Brandon LaFell $4100
– Odell Beckham Jr. $8800
– Shane Vereen $4300
Cardinals @ Seahawks
Point Total: 45
Spread: Seahawks -3
After a bumpy start the Seahawks defense has now allowed just 1 passing TD in its last three games and also allowed just 16 points in its last two. Carson Palmer has been fantastic all year but has struggled versus the Hawks since moving to Arizona, posting 2 TDs versus 6 INTs versus them in their last two meetings. The game total says there’s some potential for a decent day for Palmer but as the fifth highest priced QB there’s just way I can justify paying up for him in such a bad matchup, he’s a clear fade in week 10 for me.
Here’s the distribution of passing targets for the Cardinals from their past two games:
While I love the way John Brown has looked this year he’s scheduled to go up against Richard Sherman, which limits his upside entirely in this game. With Brown getting the short end of the stick, expect Michael Floyd or Larry Fitzgerald to possibly have a decent game as the Hawks have struggled at times versus bigger WRs and TEs in 2015. Given that Fitzgerald has been running a lot of TE type routes for the Cards in 2015 it’s possible he ends up as the big play on offense this week for ARZ. Fitz is scheduled to get Deshawn Shead in coverage, whom PFF ranks near the bottom of their coverage grading for CB’s, and while I won’t personally have much exposure to him Fitz is lined up to be the main weapon on offense for ARZ. He’s someone to at least consider from this game this week.
At QB for the Seahawks Russell Wilson has yet to either break 300 yards passing or 100 yards rushing in a single game thus far in 2015. Wilson achieved both those feats multiple times in games last season and so seeing his production go down has been a tad alarming for fantasy purposes. Wilson had one of his biggest days of the year in 2014 versus Arizona and so while the matchup may appear tough it’s not impossible to think Wilson could again go crazy here. Still, I’m not going to rely on one outlier game from last season as a reason for rostering Wilson, until the Hawks get a better matchup I’ll be avoiding him and most of the Seattle offense.
With the Arizona secondary being so stout and the Seahawks receiving targets being so spread out there’s really no one on Seattle I’d consider at WR or TE. However at RB I do think Marshawn Lynch has some appeal as a tournament play. Lynch has by no means had a big year but at home in a projected close divisional game he should see plenty of volume and a couple short TDs certainly aren’t out of the equation. I don’t love the matchup, but as a tournament option I think Lynch has some appeal this week.
Gameflow: From a competition perspective this is probably the most interesting game of the week, for fantasy purposes however we have two great D’s going at each other which will probably kill a lot of the offensive value in this game. While I love the Zona offense I’m necessarily sold this unit can come into Seattle and control the pace of this game. With Arizona’s D having struggled with Russell Wilson and Marshawn Lynch in the past I think Seattle does just enough on offense to win this game and closes the gap in the division.
Seahawks 23 Cardinals 20
– Larry Fitzgerald $7400
– Seahawks D $3500
– Marshawn Lynch $6700
Texans @ Bengals
Point Total: 47.5
Spread: Bengals -10.5
Before shutting down the awful Zach Mettenberger the Texans D had allowed 9 passing TDs in their last 3 games and been an easy target for opposing QBs. Andy Dalton’s dream season continues as he’s now thrown for 17 TDs v just 5 INTs on the season and gets a great matchup this week on MNF to continue that streak. At home, Dalton’s probably got one of best matchups and one of the safest floors for fantasy purposes of any QB on the slate. While the blowout factor here might limit his upside (Cincy is favoured by over 10) I’ll still be considering him as a play in a lot of week 10 rosters.
Here’s the distribution of targets for the Bengals from their last two games:
As you can see the Bengals went back to a much more balanced approach last week after relying on AJ Green to get them past Pittsburgh. In another easy matchup I would expect Cincy to once again spread the ball and see some value in rostering Marvin Jones as a tournament play. In recent weeks Houston has allowed secondary receivers Leonard Hankerson, Andre Johnson and Bryan Walters (Jax) to record an average of 6 rec. 92 yards TD versus them and Jones is arguably more talented than all three put together right now. While any of these three main targets could go off for Cincy I think Jones is the best value play and makes a ton of sense as a tournament target.
AT RB for Cincy Gio Bernard has outplayed, out-produced and out snapped Jeremy Hill on the year. While this game could get out of hand at some point and mean more carries for Hill in a “kill the clock type of role” my money is on a Gio breakout game this week. The Texans have been awful at defending the RB in the pass game of late and allowed opposing RBs at record least 6 catches versus them in their last three games. With the way Lamar Miller torched the Texans through the air a few weeks ago, I am definitely considering Gio as a value play in tournament lineups, I think he’s got massive upside and could be the best target from either side in this game.
On Houston the conversation this week can be very short and sweet. The Bengals have been great at limiting opposing QBs from having big games against them all year and haven’t allowed more than one passing TD against in their last 5 games. While the Bengals have been run on in the past, the Texans group at RB right now offers no upside for me and will probably not see a ton of work with Houston being such big underdogs. The Bengals defense is ranked 6th in the league in sacks and make for a great play on MNF this week against a thin Houston offense, they’re one of my top targets on D and a great way to get exposure to this game.
The lone man on Houston you have to consider every week of course is WR DeAndre Hopkins. Hopkins is second in the league in targets and considering the spot Houston is in here will probably see close to 15 passes thrown his way once again. I’m not paying up for DeAndre in cash games but he does make for an intriguing tournament play as I expect his ownership to be quite low. Consider him when making lineups.
Gameflow: Yeesh, talk about mismatch. The Bengals should be eager to put the “primetime” game curse/choke label behind them and have just the right opponent to do it against. The Texans have been awful defensively most of the year and facing one of the top offenses in the league will stand little chance here. Expect another Cincy blowout.
Bengals 30 Texans 14
– Andy Dalton $6500
– Giovani Bernard $4700
– Bengals D $3300
– A.J. Green $7600
– Marvin Jones $4300
– DeAndre Hopkins $8700
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 3