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 1: TEN @ JAX, DAL @ MIA, DEN @ CHI, IND @ ATL, NYJ @ HOU
Titans @ Jaguars
Point Total: 43
Spread: Jaguars -3
This game isn’t super exciting for fantasy purposes. The point total is set at 43 meaning each team has point expectations of around or just under 20. Most of Blake Bortles big games this year have come as part of last minute garbage time heroics and last week we finally saw some regression from him. Bortles was shut down by a pretty terrible Ravens secondary and I think more of the same is coming from the overrated Jags QB this week. The Titans have only allowed one QB to pass for more than 300 yards and 2 TDs against them (Drew Brees) in a game this year and I don’t see Bortles as being the second QB to buck that trend. I’ll happily avoid him in Thursday night games.
With that being said the Jaguars do have some talented receiving options and here’s how the passes have been distributed to them the past couple weeks:
Allen Hurns has really been thriving as the main secondary receiver for Jacksonville alongside #1 WR Allen Robinson and now has a TD in each of his last 7 games. With Robinson taking the toughest corner matchups all year and teams often tilting their zone coverage towards him, Hurns has been fantastic at finding soft spots in the secondary. However, outside of a few games to elite WRs the Titans have been great at limiting WRs production, and only Julio Jones and DeAndre Hopkins have caught more than 8 balls and 90 yards against them in a single game. I love the talent with Allen Robinson and in this tough matchup if you’re looking for a Thursday night play he’s probably the one you’d look for to produce here and not Hurns. However, unless you’re in a primetime league the most prudent thing to do is probably fade this passing game altogether, as there’s better upside elsewhere this week. The Titans have been great against the pass all season.
TJ Yeldon was hurt last weekend but looks like he will be ready to play by Thursday. Yeldon is a middling talent but he’s also one of the few backs in the league who you can count on to play over 80% of his teams snaps every week. I again don’t love the upside here as TENN has quietly been good against the run too but in a primetime league his volume is pretty valuable and gives him a pretty high floor as far as fantasy points. I’d consider him in Thursday-Sunday night-Monday night leagues but outside of that my goal would be to just avoid this Jags offense altogether.
Marcus Mariota got predictably shut down last week versus the Panthers but there’s optimism he could have a bigger game here. Mariota has torn up weaker pass D’s this year posting 12 TD versus just 4 INTs in four games versus the Saints, Bucs, Colts and Browns. With TE Delanie Walker leading the team in overall targets and in red zone targets pairing these two for a primetime stack makes a lot of sense. Jacksonville’s LBs are not great in coverage and last week they allowed the pretty average trio of Nick Boyle, Crockett Gilmore and Maxx Williams to catch 11 passes for 117 yards and 2 TDs. If planning to target this game for primetime purposes this is definitely the stack I’d focus on in tournaments.
Outside of those two players I’m not sure there’s anyone else I’d consider on TENN. Antonio Andrews is essentially a converted Fullback who ran a 4.8 40m coming out of college. He’s been getting shutdown by better run D’s and that is an area of strength for this Jacksonville team at the moment… Dorial Green Beckham has been getting more playing time at WR recently but his production has been spotty. I love the talent but he’s a massive risk for DFS purposes. Ultimately this game is best avoided or lightly played, there’s better upside elsewhere this week.
Gameflow: I think TENN is in a good spot this week. Jacksonville is coming off a pretty big upset win which it didn’t really deserve. The Titans defense is probably going to have no issues shutting down Blake Bortles as its limited mediocre QBs all year. I see TENN QB Marcus Mariota getting a lot more room to operate this week and ultimately pulling the Titans to a comfy win.
Titans 24 Jaguars 17
– Delanie Walker $4200
– Marcus Mariota $5300
– Allen Robinson $7000
Cowboys @ Dolphins
Point Total: 47.5
Spread: Dolphins -1
This game has a pretty high point total and is expected to be close with both teams projected for 23-24 points. The Cowboys Tony Romo returns this week and gets to face a Miami defense who’s been pretty up and down all season. Romo should really benefit from the fact that the Fins are without the services of Cameron Wake for the rest of the year and also from the fact they really have no one who can matchup versus Dez Bryant in the secondary. You can pretty much throw any stats or production from Dez out the window from the past couple weeks as he gets a massive upgrade at QB for this game. Bryant was a TD machine in 2014 with Romo recording a TD on almost 20% of his completions while also converting 50% of his red targets into TDs as well. This is a great spot for both these players and given that this is Romo’s first week back both players might be very under owned this week as well. I love this stack for tournaments.
I also love what Tony Romo return should do for RB Darren McFadden this week. Last season Demarco Murray averaged right around 3.5 red zone rushing attempts with Romo under centre. This year the Cowboys leads backs have averaged only 2.33 red zone rushing attempts a game. Teams won’t be able to stack boxes as much against the run with Tony Romo under centre and with Miami giving up the second most points to RBs in the league this year you have to think McFadden, who is still playing on 85% of the snaps every week, is one of the best bargains at RB for week 11 at $5000. He’ll be one of my main targets at this position.
For the Dolphins, outside of one big game versus the Texans their pass game has been a huge disappointment. Ryan Tannehill now has just 2 TDs versus 2 INTs in his last three games and has looked incapable against anything but the most average passing defenses. I actually really like this spot for the Dallas D as they’ve only given up 2 TDs in their last 4 games and limited teams to just 234 passing yards in that span. Tannehill is completely off my radar this week and I might even consider the underrated Cowboys D as a sneaky tournament target.
The Dolphins do have some receivers to consider and here’s what the passing targets have looked like for them the past couple of games:
There’s two trends that are worth noting here for fantasy purposes. The first is that Jarvis Landry is back to being heavily used again by Ryan Tannehill. The problem with Landry isn’t the amount of targets he’s getting it’s the fact he’s averaging a paltry 9.8 yards per reception so far in 2015. Landry actually leads Rishard Matthews in receptions by 18 but is trailing him by 60 yards in receiving totals. While I like the talent at $6700 Landry doesn’t have the downfield, big play upside other WRs in his range have. In a tough matchup I’m off him completely and would spend my money elsewhere.
The one player I do think you can consider on the Dolphins this week is Lamar Miller. Miller has caught 18 passes for 164 yards and a TD the past three games and developed into the clear second or third passing option for Tannehill. He’s also still dominating the workload for the Fins and is now on the field for over 80% of all the snaps on a consistent basis. At $6200, even with the price increase, I think Miller’s a player to target this week as the Cowboys defense has allowed pass catching backs like Dion Lewis, Demarco Murray and Devonta Freeman to have big days against them. Miller’s getting the volume to be a big time play every week and is definitely the player I’d want to target in this game for Miami.
Gameflow: The Dolphins got semi-lucky last weekend to salvage a win from the Eagles while the Cowboys again lost a close game to a team they should have beat. I think the Cowboys are a lot better than people realize with Tony Romo under centre and even though you fear the rustiness that comes with a long layoff I expect Romo and the Dallas D to win this game handily. Miami for the most part have done poorly against above average competition and that trend should continue here.
Cowboys 27 Dolphin 20
– Dez Bryant $7700
– Darren McFadden $5000
– Lamar Miller $6200
– Tony Romo $6000
– Dallas D $2400
Broncos @ Bears
Point Total: 41
Spread: Bears -1
This isn’t a great game to target for fantasy as both teams are projected to score 21 points or less. The Broncos will be without Peyton Manning for this tilt but that might actually help their struggling pass offense. Still, I’m not going to recommend Brock Osweiler as a play this week. The Bears defense has been much improved of late and have only allowed 2 TDs versus 2 INTs in their last 3 games. While Osweiler is certainly an upgrade over Peyton Manning at this point I don’t view him as an elite enough talent to post a big game here, on the road, against a surprisingly solid D. Brock isn’t in my week 11 plans.
The Broncos pass game definitely got a bit of a lift once Osweiler came in last week and the main beneficiary was Demaryius Thomas. Thomas was on his way to a one catch afternoon until Osweiler came in and started peppering him with passes. The Bears secondary is still the weakest part of their team and while CB Kyle Fuller has started to live up to his draft potential I still see this as a plus matchup for Thomas who should be relied on heavily by his new QB. With Emmanuel Sanders still likely for this game but also slightly banged up I think Thomas could be in for a big workload and possibly a big fantasy game too. He’s a definite target for me in this game.
After a couple of weeks of splitting carries Ronnie Hillman got most of the touches in Denver’s blowout loss to KC. While the clarity is nice I’m not sure if I care this week as the Chicago run defense has been extremely stingy and only allowed 3 TDs on the ground all season. The Bears have given up a lot of yards to RBs through the air, and it’s possible one of Hillman or Anderson has a nice PPR day, but avoiding this low upside situation is definitely the course of action. There’s better situations to target than Denver’s struggling offense.
Jay Cutler has played far better than people realize this year but is running into a buzz saw this weekend in the Denver D. Even after a couple of losses Denver is still giving up the fewest points to the QB position of any defense in the league and yet to allow a QB to throw for 300 yards or more than 3 TDs in a game. There’s not much upside with Cutler and he’s definitely not someone I’d recommend having any exposure to this weekend.
I can’t say I’m super high on any of the Bears offensive options this week but for sake of argument here’s how their receiving targets have been distributed for the past couple of games:
With Alshon Jeffery dealing with a bad groin he saw his snaps reduced a lot in week 10 and could be headed for a similar fate this weekend. Regardless, in a matchup with one of the best cover corners in the game, Aqib Talib I really want no part of Alshon this week, regardless of how many targets he gets… At TE the emergence of Zach Miller, who now has 3 TDs in his last three games has hurt the production of Martellus Bennett who was cut down to just 5 targets last week. Miller’s a legitimate receiving threat in his own right but trusting his recent production is probably not a great idea and the matchup against Denver is also working against him. The best move is to simple avoid the Bears passing game and look for better options elsewhere.
RB Jeremy Langford’s been a huge force in the pass game since he took over for the injured Matt Forte but has seen his price rise to $5600 on DraftKings for week 11. Langford’s been producing but is still ceding work to KaDeem Carey who took 4 of the Bears 9 red zone rushes in week 10. I love that the Bears use the RB so much in the pass and if Forte is once again out you could consider Langford as a tournament target, but I won’t have much exposure to him as I think this game offers little fantasy upside.
Gameflow: The Bears have been incredibly solid on both sides of the ball lately and there’s an argument here that they are in fact the better team at the moment. The Broncos are struggling mightily on offense and while Brock Osweiler offers Denver an upgrade at the most important position I think the Bears still keep this game close and ultimately pull out a squeaker. The Bears should have enough juice on offense to get the win here.
Bears 21 Broncos 20
– Demaryius Thomas $7300
– Jeremy Langford $5600
– Bears D $2000 (price play)
Colts @ Falcons
Point Total: 47
Spread: Falcons -6
This game has a fairly high point total with the Falcons being quite large favorites. The Colts offense will be without Andrew Luck in this game and the last time Matt Hasselbeck was under centre he threw for 247.5 yards and 1.5 TDs in two games. Hasselbeck isn’t really a consideration for me this week versus a pretty stout Falcons secondary who’ve only allowed more than 1 passing TD in a game three times so far in 2015. You can safely cross his name off your list of potential plays this week at QB.
While I am not interested in the Colts QB situation they do have some decent pass catchers and here’s how the targets were distributed to them with Hasselbeck under centre:
As you can see TY Hilton was the clear lead dog for Hasselbeck who targeted him endlessly in his two starts. With Hasselbeck being more of a limited downfield passer at this point in his career Hilton still failed to top 90 yards receiving in either of those games and this week it looks like he’ll have a matchup with Desmond Trufant who has been grading out as a top corner on Pro Football focus for the past year or so. I don’t love this matchup and quite frankly see no reason to roster anyone from the Colts pass game this week. Outside of matchup concerns versus a tough Falcons secondary Indy’s receivers just don’t have the same upside they do with Hasselbeck under centre. I’d avoid the whole lot and move on to better matchups.
The one player from Indy you could consider is Frank Gore, who should see an uptick in work with Luck out. Gore actually had one of his best games of the year with Hasselbeck under centre in week 5 rushing for 98 yards and a TD versus the Texans. The matchup is pretty decent too as the Falcons have been decent in limiting rushing yardage but have allowed big games to RBs through the air. I expect a ton of volume for Gore in this game but with Luck out he’s definitely still only a tournament target as the red zone looks for Gore will likely be limited. The whole Indy offense is going to be pretty dicey for use until Luck returns.
While the Colts are a bit of a mess and best left untouched, the Falcons are one of the easiest teams to dissect for fantasy purposes and have a couple players who always offer us a lot of potential. Julio Jones and Devonta Freeman have been targeted or touched the ball in some manner on 82 of Atlanta’s last 126 plays (over two games). Jones has a tough matchup in this game versus Vontae Davis which is enough to make me at least consider downgrading him to a tournament only play. The Colts best CB has been playing well recently and while Jones is still going to produce in this game the big game upside we’ve seen in previous weeks is likely stunted a bit by Davis covering him. At $9300 I think there’s better matchups to exploit this week… At $8400 Devonta Freeman is the player I’ll probably be using more of from this offense. The Colts did well to limit Denver’s RBs last week but on the road could have issues with ATL’s stout run game. Freeman is now averaging nearly 6 receptions per game and has been just as useful as a receiver as he has been on the ground of late. At home and coming off of a bye I expect the Falcons to once again rely on Freeman heavily and given the issues the Colts might have moving the ball without Andrew Luck, Freeman could see plenty of red zone opportunities on Sunday. He’s in a great spot for a big game and definitely a must target this weekend.
The last suggestion I’ll make is to also consider Jacob Tamme at TE. The Falcons TE has seen a big bump in usage the past couple weeks, recording 11 targets in each of his last two contests. The Colts have struggled against teams secondary slot receivers and Tamme has been lining up off the line essentially in a slot role a lot. If Hankerson were to sit again I’d consider Tamme as a really nice target at only $3600 and will still consider him for tournaments regardless of if Hankerson lays or not. The matchup and targeting trend for Tamme really lines up nicely this week.
Gameflow: Atlanta has been pretty awful the past two games. They are coming off a bye week though and get the added benefit of facing the Colts without their star QB. Ultimately I think that’s enough to push this game in the Falcons favour, but don’t be shocked if this game is a lot closer than people think. Atlanta is not a good team right now and even with the bye will probably have trouble getting by the Luck-less Colts.
Falcons 24 Colts 20
– Devonta Freeman $8400
– Jacob Tamme $3600 (downgrade slightly if Hankerson plays)
– Julio Jones $9300
– Frank Gore $4700
Jets @ Texans
Point Total: 42
Spread: Jets – 2.5
Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick looks like he’ll be ready to start week 11 after undergoing thumb surgery after last week’s game. This is a potentially good spot for the entire Jets offense who got rolling late in last weekend’s game versus the Bills. Fitzpatrick’s been amazingly consistent this year posting at least 14 fantasy points in every game he’s started and finished, and has gained 30 or more rushing yards in 4 of those contests as well. The Texans played great last week and limited the high powered Bengals offense to zero TDs but I’m not sure if this is a trend I’m ready to trust yet. Fitzpatrick is the minimum in price this week ($5000) and will be going up against the team who refused to resign him after last season ended. I think he makes for a decent value play at QB and someone you could consider to use as building quality lineups around him will be easy.
At running back for the Jets Chris Ivory has seen his workload increase the past couple of weeks and with Zac Stacy now out that trend should continue. Ivory played on 73% of the snaps versus the Bills in week 10 and with the Jets now in a dogfight for the last playoff spot I expect them to ride Ivory hard the rest of the way. The Texans have not been awful against the run but this matchup in no way scares me off of using Ivory, who’s looked better in his past couple of games after fighting off injury issues. I think the Jets offense can keep it rolling in this game and Ivory could be a big benefactor, definitely someone to target at RB in week 11.
The Jets receiving targets have looked like this the past two weeks.
The Texans secondary has actually been much improved of late and Texans CBs Kevin Johnson, Jonathan Joseph and Charles James are all now ranked as above average by Pro Football Focus in their coverage. With Brandon Marshall fighting off a variety of ailments Eric Decker has led the team in targeting the past two games and could be set for another decent week. Decker’s price has risen a bit too where he’s now just under 6k at $5800 but I still think he’s a logical target for fantasy in this game. While Brandon Marshall is somewhat matchup proof the fact he’s hurting and the recent play of the Texans secondary has me most likely just avoiding him altogether. I’ll consider Decker in this game but would definitely look at him more as a tournament consideration and am a little bit cautious of playing anyone versus this strong Texans secondary at the moment.
The Texans only scored 10 points on offense last week but still won the game. The Texans RB situation has been a complete waste for fantasy since Arian Foster went out and even against the Jets who got pummelled via the ground last week by Buffalo I don’t think using anyone from their group is a great idea. In fact laying off the Texans offense altogether and considering the Jets D is probably the right move this week. Backup TJ Yates might possibly start this game and with Darrelle Revis set to shadow DeAndre Hopkins the upside with Hopkins simply isn’t there. Revis has now held the likes of Sammy Watkins, Julian Edelman and Amari Cooper to under 60 yards passing in three separate games and so with Watkins priced at $8800 and currently the second highest receiver on DraftKings, fading him is definitely the shrewd move this week in my mind.
If you really need a min-priced tournament play you could look to Cecil Shorts in this game as the Jets have been terrible against team’s secondary receivers and Shorts led the non-Hopkins options for Houston last week with 6 targets. At min-price Shorts could see a lot of targets against this thin secondary which has allowed big games to Michael Crabtree and Danny Amendola of late who all were able to escape the Revis shadow.
Gameflow: I don’t really buy the Texans getting back on track last week. They only managed 10 points and might be without their starting QB Brian Hoyer in week 11. The Jets almost pulled off the late comeback last week versus the Bills and should be revved up for this game as their playoff chances depend on them getting a win here. Look for a Jet romp and likely another disappointing offensive game from Houston.
Jets 27 Texans 13
– Chris Ivory $6100
– Jets D $3000
– Eric Decker $5800
– Ryan Fitzpatrick $5000
– Cecil Shorts $3000
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 1