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 2: OAK @ DET, STL @ BAL, TB @ PHI, WAS @ CAR, KC @ SD
Raiders @ Lions
Point Total: 48
Spread: Raiders -1.5
This game has a lot of fantasy potential as both teams have weaker defenses and are both projected to score upwards of 23 points. Derek Carr continued his streak of 300 yard games last weekend (his third in a row) and should have an excellent chance of continuing that streak this weekend. Detroit’s secondary is decimated as they lost Rashean Mathis to IR a couple weeks ago and then lost Josh Wilson to IR in the game versus Green Bay, a game in which they were down to just three healthy corners at one point. This is a fantastic spot for Carr and the Raiders passing game and at just $6300 he’ll be a main target of mine this Sunday at QB.
Here’s the Raiders passing targets and red zone targets for the year
As you can see Amari Cooper has been getting consistent targeting but hasn’t been used by the Raiders much once they get inside the 20 yards line. Even though this has held Cooper back some he’s still producing for fantasy purposes and has four games of 20 or more points this year. He’s slated to go up against Darius Slay who is the only decent CB left on the Lions and it’s a matchup that might have me gravitate more towards using Michael Crabtree this week who will likely get the exploitable Nevin Lawson. At $6000 Crabtree is cheaper and been playing extremely well with Carr throwing him the ball all season. While I’d consider both of the Raiders WRs this week Crabtree has the better matchup, is still cheaper and is probably the one I’ll have more exposure too, this could be a big weak for the OAK pass game.
RB Latavius Murray has produced between 10 and 15 fantasy points in each of his last 4 games, and while he hasn’t been a disaster he also hasn’t had any explosion games recently. That could change this week though as the Lions run defense certainly has been exploited more than once for a big game this season. I love the fact that Murray’s price has come down to $5600 making him much more affordable, and with the Raiders offense in such a good spot overall a multi-TD game is possible here for him. He’s a great week 11 tournament target.
The Raiders defense has been hideous against the pass for most of the year and have allowed the fifth most points to QBs on DraftKings all season. While I don’t love the way Matthew Stafford or the Lions offense in general has played this year there’s some potential here for a big game this weekend. The Raiders corners are all ranked near the bottom in coverage by Pro Football Focus and that could mean good things for Calvin Johnson. Johnson is having the worst season of his career by a long shot so far but still leads the Lions in targets by almost 20 and in red zone targeting by 4. While the Vikings low volume pass offense didn’t need to produce much against Oakland two weeks ago Pittsburgh and Antonio Brown absolutely demolished Oakland’s weak corners for a massive game. Even in the midst of a poor season I think Johnson is more than capable of producing at least half of what Brown did against this very weak secondary and he’ll be a main target of mine from this game.
While Johnson is the most likely target for a big game from Detroit you could also consider both Eric Ebron and Golden Tate as tournament plays too. Tate will likely be matched up against DJ Hayden who has really struggled this year and has one of the worst coverage grades on PFF. There’s the possibility he gets loose for a big gain or two and puts up big numbers… Ebron also has a great matchup as the Raiders LBs have not been great in coverage all year. Ebron’s been the third option most weeks for Stafford and has at least 3 rec. in his last 3 games. When healthy he’s seen targets and at $3500 is a decent way to get a cheap piece of the Detroit pass game for tournaments.
Gameflow: This could be a wild one and one of the games I’ll be most targeting for fantasy purposes. The Raiders offense has been most impressive this year but their secondary is quite frankly pathetic. Meanwhile the Lions are down to signing people off the street just to field a complete secondary making a shootout not only possible but probable. In the end I just trust Oakland more but it will probably be the team that scores last who wins.
Raiders 34 Lions 30
– Derek Carr $6300
– Michael Crabtree $6000
– Calvin Johnson $7500
– Amari Cooper $6800
– Latavius Murray $5600
– Matt Stafford $5400
– Eric Ebron $3500
Rams @ Ravens
Point Total: 41.5
Spread: Ravens -2
This game also has a really low total for fantasy purposes and isn’t high on my list of targets. The Rams decided to bench Nick Foles this week and so Case Keenum will be getting the start at QB for STL. The Ravens pass D is certainly exploitable but I’m not sure that the Rams have the weapons needed to properly exploit it. Since week 5 no Rams WR has caught more than 4 balls in a game and only once (Kenny Britt in week 3) has a Rams WR broken the 100 yard mark receiving. You could consider pairing Keenum against this week secondary with Tavon Austin who has been used the most out of any Rams WR (both running and passing) but you’d really be expecting Keenum to break a huge trend this week as the rams haven’t passed for more than 200 yards in a game since week 1. The Rams pass game is completely off limits to me in fantasy this week and should be for you as well.
Todd Gurley started last week nicely but only got 12 carries in total as the Rams defense allowed a couple big plays which really put their offense behind the 8-ball. Because of the score Gurley ceded more snaps than usual to Benny Cunningham and had his lowest output since he took over the workhorse role. While the Ravens are certainly better against the run than the pass they’re by no means a horrible matchup and did allow Lev Bell a big game back in week 4. At $7600 Gurley carries the risk that the Rams will continue to sputter on both sides of the ball and thus give Gurley a reduced workload again but he’s more than in play for me in tournaments where I expect his ownership to come down significantly after an average week.
Joe Flacco predictably exploited a weak Jacksonville secondary last weekend but will find the going much tougher this week against STL. Jay Cutler put up some nice numbers last week off the back of a couple broken/fluky plays but otherwise the Rams D has been stifling versus the pass this season allowing 1 or less passing TD in a game 7 times. I like the fact Flacco has been throwing it a ton so far in 2015 but there’s matchup’s I like better than his this week and don’t think you need to risk him versus the Rams, who are also third in the league in sacks. This could be a tough day for the Ravens QB.
Here’s the Ravens passing targets for the last two games with Steve Smith out of the lineup:
Joe Flacco really used his TE’s a bunch last week completing 11 passes to Maxx Williams, Nick Boyle and Crockett Gilmore. While Gilmore has been the most productive of the bunch this week I am not about to venture using any of them in my lineups. The Rams are a tough matchup and with the targets so spread out guessing which TE catches the TD this week will be hard to predict… At WR it’s encouraging to see Kamar Aiken get so many targets but he will have a tough matchup versus Janoris Jenkins who’s been grading out well all season on Pro Football Focus. Many will flock to Aiken as a value play and even though the targeting is there I don’t see him as the type of WR who can succeed in a number 1 sort of role, especially against a pass D as good as St. Louis’. I’ll be avoiding him week 11… The one other option in this offense to discuss is WR Chris Givens who scored last week and who at $3200 is still insanely cheap considering he’s starting and played 70% of the snaps in week 10. Givens will be going up against his old team who basically cut him earlier in the year and so I like the narrative angle a lot too. I’ll be targeting him again in week 11 tournament lineups.
I’m really not high at all on Justin Forsett at the moment as he’s only averaged 3.67 yards in his last four games on the ground. The Rams can be run as Adrian Peterson and Jeremy Langford have proven the past two weeks but the Ravens have had easier matchups in that same span and still not produced. There’s potential with the Ravens being favoured and at home, but if you are going to use Forsett keep the exposure minimal, I personally like other spots better this week at RB.
Gameflow: This is another potentially ugly matchup, although the element of a new QB could make this game a little more entertaining than previously thought. The Rams passing game has been brutal all year but so has the Ravens secondary. Ultimately I think the Rams bounce back here although I won’t be shocked if the Ravens win. It should be a tight game and I think the Rams D will still be the deciding factor.
Rams 24 Ravens 22
– Todd Gurley $7600
– Chris Givens $3200
– Rams D $3600
Buccaneers @ Eagles
Point Total: 45
Spread: Eagles -5.5
Jameis Winston struggled last week with an above average defense and gets another stern test this week going on the road to face Philly. The Eagles tend to give up a lot of yards in the pass game but also create a lot of turnovers too and have 6 INTs in their last four games. Winston has also tended to struggle with teams who have average to above average pass rush and the Eagles are currently 11th in sacks and will be playing at home. I love the Eagles defense in this spot and think they’re one of the best targets on the slate at $3100, a big game is possible here versus the highly overrated Winston.
It appears as if Vincent Jackson is out and so Mike Evans should see another boatload of passes thrown his way in week 10. The past three games Evans has seen an insane 49 targets making him a viable play just off of sheer volume alone. Even if you’re targeting the Philly defense I think using Evans makes sense in this game as the Eagles have been brutal against other teams number 1 WRs and the physical Evans shouldn’t have an issue dealing with either Nolan Carroll or Byron Maxell in one on one coverage. Evans is an easy target this week as the volume of passes he’s seeing means his floor is still probably in the mid-teens this weekend. Definitely a play I’ll consider everywhere in week 11.
At RB the Bucs continue to split carries and work between Doug Martin and Charles Sims with Martin getting 45 and 31 snaps in his last two games while Sims has seen 26 and 32 in that same span. While it was nice to see Martin get a bigger chunk of the workload last week and see some passes, I still hate the fact he’s ceding so much work to Sims. There’s also the fact that the Eagles are a pretty good run D and have only allowed 3 TDs to RBs all year (two of them were to Mike Tolbert!). There’s a chance one of these backs has a nice PPR day but it’s not a spot I’d be willing to speculate on, there’s better matchups elsewhere at RB this week.
Philly looks like they will be going back to Mark Sanchez at QB this week as Sam Bradford has a separated shoulder and looks destined to miss time. Last year with Sanchez at the helm for Philly he averaged nearly 20 points a game and also raised Jordan Matthews up for a few big games too. Ultimately I don’t see Sanchez as a huge upgrade over Bradford but versus a weak Bucs secondary there is potential here. I see Sanchez as a pretty high floor fantasy target in week 11 and will be considering him as a play in many lineups.
Here’s the pass distribution from Philly’s last couple of games
Zach Ertz’s usage has been trending up for a few weeks now and he actually led all Philly receivers in targets last weekend. It’s hard to know if that trend will continue with Sanchez now at QB but if you’re looking at a Philly stack for tournaments he would make sense at only $3100 and is a decent play amoung cheap TEs… As mentioned previously Jordan Matthews saw an uptick in work when Sanchez played last year and if I had to venture a guess he’ll probably see one again in this game too. The Tampa secondary is not good and there’s definitely potential for a big game from Matthews who will be going up against Alterraun Verner who I can see having big trouble with Matthews size and after the catch running ability. I like him as a tournament target in this game.
The running back situation for Philly has sorted itself out a bit as Darren Sproles has reverted back to being used a few times a game in pass situations while Ryan Matthews has seen relief work and some red zone carries too. The good news about all this is that even though Demarco Murray is still losing some critical touches he is now playing well over 55-60% of the snaps every game. Murray’s become a vital part of the Philly passing game too and his PPR points have really made him valuable the past couple games. The Tampa run defense is definitely the strength of their team but at $6000 I think we can trust Murray in this matchup given his recent passing stats and targeting. I like Murray as an option this week at $6000 and think he’s actually a little underpriced compared to some of the names above him this week on DraftKings.
Gameflow: I think this game presents a lot of problems for Tampa. The way to beat the Eagles is through the air but their QB is a ticking time bomb in terms of turning the ball over. I see Philly getting pressure on Winston and dominating with their D while the offense likely gets a small boost from Mark Sanchez who to me looked better last season than Sam Bradford ever did this year at QB. Philly should romp here.
Eagles 27 Bucs 10
– DeMarco Murray $6000
– Eagles D $3100
– Mike Evans $6800
– Mark Sanchez $5000
– Jordan Matthews $6000
Redskins @ Panthers
Point Total: 45.5
Spread: Panther -7
This game has a decent point total but with the Panthers favoured by 7 the Redskins expected team total is only around 18 points. This is bad news for Kirk Cousins fans who likely won’t see their favorite QB put in another big game here. Outside of one big comeback inspired-performance by Aaron Rodgers the Panthers D has been stifling, and have held opposing QBs to 1 passing TD or less in 6 of their games this year. I think this is a great week to use the Panthers as your defense and punish those players who chase the points by using Cousins again in week 11.
The Redskins passing targets have looked like this the past two games:
The Redskins have really been spreading the ball since the return of Desean Jackson, and while Jackson is still the big play option in his offense he has a matchup with the league’s best corner this week in Josh Norman making him completely off limits. With the Redskins likely being forced into passing more late in this game though I’m personally expecting Jordan Reed to be the one to lead the Redskins in fantasy points again this week. The Panthers have been allowing points to the TE position lately and with Reed’s versatility making him so hard to cover I expect the Redskins to try and exploit that matchup. Reed leads the Skins in red zone targets and is a complete matchup nightmare near the goal line. He’ll once again be a favorite target of mine at TE in week 11.
At RB while Matt Jones had a big week 10 a closer look at the numbers tells us that we shouldn’t expect a repeat performance this week. Jones may have scored over 30 fantasy points last week but he still only played 37% of the snaps. The Panthers haven’t been great against the run but they are a huge upgrade form the Saints team Jones ran through in week 10. I think the prudent play here is to avoid the RBBC that is developing and not chase the points. I’ll likely be avoiding Jones against a solid D in week 11.
Cam Newton was held in relative check by the Titans in week 10 but he’s still averaging an insane number of carries every game and hasn’t had less than 9 runs in his past three games. While the Redskins have done well limiting QB scoring this season and have yet to allow a QB to throw for more than 2 passing TDs in a game, Newton’s fantasy upside comes from his legs and that is an area the Redskins have struggled defending against all year. The Skins have allowed over 140 yards rushing in each of their last 5 games and I think that makes both Newton and RB Jonathan Stewart pretty attractive options this week. At $6900 and $4400 respectively this might actually be a week where I consider using both Newton and Stewart in the same tournament lineup as both have great matchups and should be involved in a lot of the Panthers scoring. Look to both as high upside tournament plays this weekend.
The Panthers receiving core is still a pretty low upside bunch. TE Greg Olsen continues to lead the Panthers in targets but with the Panthers likely having success on the ground I could see Olsen being less a part of the game plan this week. The better target for tournaments might be WR Ted Ginn who once again saw 8 targets from Newton last week and is averaging 6.4 targets a game on the year. The Skins have been awful versus the WR position and have now allowed 7 TDs to WRs over their last 4 games. Ginn at only $3500 is definitely an intriguing value target and someone who you could pair Cam with for tournaments.
Gameflow: The Redskins have been pretty scrappy all year and I won’t be shocked if they give the Panthers a better game than people expect. Still, considering their issue stopping the run and Carolina’s weapons in that area this is probably too big a mountain for them to climb in terms of pulling off the upset. I think things stay close for a while but eventually Cam and the Panthers pull away.
Panthers 26 Redskins 20
– Cam Newton $6900
– Jonathan Stewart $4400
– Panthers D $3400
– Jordan Reed $4900
– Ted Ginn $3500
Chiefs @ Chargers
Point Total: 44
Spread: Chiefs -3
After a brutal start to the year the KC pass D has been a lot less giving of late and has now confined opposing QBs to an average of 202 yards and a TD in their last 3 games. Phillip Rivers has been a fantasy godsend in 2015 but he’s now down two of his best weapons in Keenan Allen and Ladarius Green and facing this suddenly scary Chiefs team who’s 6th in the league in sacks. With Rivers recent price jump (he’s now $6900) I’m fine leaving him off my team’s in week 11.
Here’s the pass targets for the Chargers last game:
As we can see the biggest beneficiaries of Allen and Green being out were Stevie Johnson and Danny Woodhead. While I like the PPR bonus you get with Woodhead he’s still losing snaps to Melvin Gordon (why I don’t know, but he is) and has also seen a price jump to $5300 this week. The Chiefs have been solid versus RBs all year anyways and at $3900 I’d much rather use Johnson in this matchup. Shifty WRs Golden Tate, Antonio Brown and Stefon Diggs complied 19 catches and 312 yards in three separate games versus KC this year and with Johnson playing a similar type of game to those WRs I think a decent game could logically follow. He’s one of the better values under 4k this week at WR and someone I’ll have exposure to… The other option to consider on SD of course is Antonio Gates who will probably continue to see double digit targets every week with Green and Allen out. Gates is quite affordable at only $4800 and will probably be low owned due to the Chiefs being ranked so highly versus the TE. I’m not sold that Gates won’t get his in this game and with an extra week to rest his injured knee I expect Gates to have a big game here, he’s a great tournament target at TE.
The Chiefs passing game has been extremely low output of late. Both Travis Kelce and Jeremy Maclin haven’t recorded more than 15 points in their last 4 games, and while the price on Maclin has fallen considerably ($5000) I still can’t consider him given the way KC and Alex Smith have been playing. Fade the KC pass game and be happier for it.
This conservative approach on offense may have hurt the Chief’s receivers but it has really helped the fantasy fortunes of Charcandrick West who’s been getting a huge workload ever since Jamaal Charles went down. West has not only been seeing over 80% of the snaps for the Chiefs but he’s also benefited from the Chiefs getting up big in most of their games recently and allowing him more touches. At $4500 and going against one of the weakest run defenses in the league West is undoubtedly a value play you need to consider this week and one I’ll have a ton of exposure to.
Gameflow: This is the classic tale of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Chargers have really been falling apart and are losers of their last 5 games while the Chiefs have gotten their act together of late and are now on a three game win streak. I’m a little bit wary of picking the Chiefs here since their offense is still basically just Alex Smith throwing 2 yard screen passes but I think the emergence of Charcandrick West allows them to keep their streak going and get by the Chargers.
Chiefs 24 Chargers 20
– Charcandrick West $4500
– Stevie Johnson $3900
– Chiefs D $2600
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 2