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: GB @ MIN, SF @ SEA, CIN @ ARI, BUF @ NE
Packers @ Vikings
Point Total: 45
Spread: Vikings -1
This game has a pretty average point total and with a close spread both teams are projected to score around 22-23 points. Aaron Rodgers has now thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last two games as the Packers have been forced to air things out more due the abysmal state of their run game. The Vikings don’t have a dominant secondary but they have been good at limiting the output of other teams QBs and none has thrown for more than 2 TDs in a game versus them all season. I never like to count Aaron Rodgers out but I could definitely see a subdued performance in what projects as a tight game. Definitely keep Rodgers to tournaments only and look for better value at QB in your 50/50 and HU’s games.
Here’s the passing targets for the Packers over the past two weeks:
Davante Adams owners last week definitely felt like they left a little something on the table as he was only able to turn 21 targets into 10 catches and just under 80 yards. This week Adams matchup isn’t as good as he projects to see a lot of the ageless Terrence Newman who’s been extremely solid for the Vikings all season. However with Randall Cobb also in a tough matchup against the also tough Captain Munnerlyn, Adams might again be the wise choice as his price is still $2100 cheaper than Cobb’s at $4600. Until we see a swing back or a big game from another receiver I think targeting Adams and his huge targets from the last two weeks of play makes sense. He’s still the best value of the group and could easily hit or exceed last week’s production if he just finds the end zone.
AT RB last week James Starks played on 94% of the snaps for the Packers. Eddie Lacy is likely to be active for this week however meaning Starks will cede some work to the former starter. Everyone remembers the Vikings getting thrashed on the ground in week 1 but since then they’ve actually been pretty solid and haven’t allowed 100 yards rushing in a game since week 4. While I like the idea of using Starks here if he has all the snaps to himself, I don’t like it as much if Lacy is going to be around sharing carries and possibly stealing goal line touches. Against a solid defense I feel like Starks is more of a tournament target this week and one you should be careful with if Lacy is active.
The Vikings offense is getting pretty simple to target for fantasy purposes. QB Teddy Bridgewater is a great young “real life” QB but a poor fantasy one. Even in a plum matchup last week he still only got us 11.9 fantasy points and is simply operating in such a low volume passing offense that big days, if they occur, will be extreme outliers and not the norm… The main thing that is holding Bridgewater back from being useful in fantasy is exactly what has been allowing Adrian Peterson to string together a few nice games in a row. The Vikings have run the second highest percentage of run plays on the season (51.31%) and Peterson is now up to 3 games in a row where he’s taken 20 or more carries. The Packers were solid versus the run last week but have in general allowed other star backs like Matt Forte and Todd Gurley to have big days against them. Using Peterson, who’s actually quite a bit cheaper than the most expensive RBs on DraftKings this week, makes a lot of sense as his upside in this crucial matchup is probably on par or better than almost any other RB in week 11.
The Vikings receiving core has also obviously been hurt fantasy wise by the team’s lack of passing. Rookie Stefon Diggs again led their receiving core last week but this time did so with only 48 yards on two receptions. The good news about Diggs is that he’s so talented he almost turned one of those receptions into a 60 yard TD. However even with that talent I can’t seriously recommend him as a cash game option anymore, at least until the passing game picks up again for the Vikings (it might never). I’ll consider Diggs in tournaments as I love his upside but will have limited exposure.
Gameflow: This should be a great game. The reeling Packers have a tough matchup on their hands as the Vikings as a team have just been smothering their opponents lately. This is bad news for the Packers offense who has looked lost for large portions of their last three games. Still, I can’t see Rodgers and crew being denied a fourth week in a row. It might be close but I’ll say the Packers finally pull out a tight one in the final minutes and take down the Vikings on the road.
Packers 24 Vikings 23
– Adrian Peterson $6800
– Davante Adams $4600
– Stefon Diggs $5000
– Aaron Rodgers $7500
– Randall Cobb $6700
49ers @ Seahawks
Point Total: 40
Spread: Seahawks -12.5
This game doesn’t have a lot of plays for fantasy this week. On San Francisco Blaine Gabbert will be getting his second start in a row at QB and going up against a Hawks defense at home who are coming off a stinging loss last week and should be in no mood to allow a second string QB to have a decent day versus them. Gabbert is working with an incredibly thin group at both RB and WR and will have difficulty moving the ball. Shaun Draughn will likely get the start at RB as Carlos Hyde continues to nurse an injured foot. The Seahawks defense is one of the best in the league versus the run so no matter who plays RB for the 49ers they’ll have a tough matchup… don’t expect the middling Draughn to be able to do much if anything at all versus Seattle. Gabbert will also have a tougher time throwing as his best WR Anquan Boldin also looks questionable to play in this game. The Seahawks defense is in a huge spot here to have a big game and I would not be shocked if a shutout occurred. I’ll be paying up for them when I can and hoping most people decide to fade this game entirely.
Offensively for the Seahawks there’s also not many plays to consider. Marshawn Lynch could certainly have another big game here and pairing him with the Seattle defense isn’t a bad idea. Lynch has had a disappointing season but had his best game of the year versus the 49ers in week 7 when he rushed for 127 yards and a TD. At $6700 you’d need Lynch to outscore Adrian Peterson and Demarco Murray who are both in his price range this week to make him a viable tournament play. Against San Fran that is probably a possibility but it does make him a somewhat risky investment. I’ll consider Beast Mode but my exposure will be quite limited to non-existent in all likelihood.
I like Russell Wilson the player but for fantasy the Seahawks passing game has been all over the place. Wilson has topped 20 fantasy points only once on the season and even though the matchup here screams big day the fact the Hawks are favoured by so much means he might cede more work to the run game and defense. I’ll consider Wilson in tournaments as he’ll most likely be low owned but like Lynch my exposure here will be low and limited to tournaments.
Gameflow: This game could get ugly really fast. The 49ers are the exact opposite of the Cardinals on offense and don’t have the personnel to break through against Seattle’s tough secondary and defensive line. The Seattle D won’t fear Gabbert beating them down field and should be teeing off all game. I’m expecting a massacre of sorts.
Seahawks 27 49ers 0
– Seahawks D $4000
– Russell Wilson $5900
– Marshawn Lynch $6700
Bengals @ Cardinals
Point Total: 47.5
Spread: Cardinals -4
This game features two extremely well-rounded teams with strong passing offenses and stout secondaries. Since week 5 the Bengals pass defense has limited opposing QBs to an average of 219 yards passing and under 1 TD a game. This team is hard to throw against and even though Carson Palmer is playing some of the best football of his life and averaging well over 20 fantasy points a game (23.6) this is still a tough matchup for him. At $6700 Palmer can be used in tournaments but he’s not someone I’ll be targeting much if at all this week as I think this is a possible letdown spot for the Cardinals in general.
At WR for Arizona both Michael Floyd and John Brown are hurting and in danger of missing this game. If one or both miss that could mean big things for Larry Fitzgerald who would suddenly be projected for a minimum of ten targets and have a much bigger fantasy ceiling. Even against the stout secondary of the Bengal’s Fitz would have to be someone you consider for all your lineups as he posted games of 8-112-3 and 9-134-2 when Floyd was working his way back from injury early in the year. You’re going to have to watch the injury news closely but Fitzgerald would be the one player I would target confidently in this game if Floyd were to sit.
As for the Bengals they are coming off their worst game of the season and a complete offensive dud versus the Texans. The Cardinals have done well at limiting big games to the QB all season and haven’t allowed a 300 yard passing game since week 1. While I do think Dalton will bounce back I’m not interested in using him at all in this game as the risk of the Arizona D shutting him down completely for the second week in a row does exist, there’s simply more reliable options out there.
As for the Bengals receiving options here’s their targets from the last two games:
As we can see the workload has been spread out the past couple of weeks and no Bengals receiving option has really had a massive game ppr wise (Eifert did catch 3 TDs in week 9). The Cardinals have been great at covering the TE thus far in 2015 and while CB Tyraan Mathieu has worked as a slot and outside corner at times this season he’s also been part of the reason the Cardinals have done so well defending against this position. I expect him and Patrick Peterson to give Eifert and AJ Green all sorts of issues as both defenders have been great in coverage so far in 2015. This isn’t a great spot for either of Cincy’s top receivers and I’m not personally going to pay big money for either this week… At $4300 Marvin Jones may be in a good spot again to see a lot of work as he has the easiest matchup of any Cincy receiver. I like the way Jones has played all year and his after the catch running abilities are definitely something the Bengals might look to rely on more in this game given the defense they are facing. He’s a tournament option for me again this week and a good swerve play off of more popular options in that price range.
At RB for the Bengals Gio Bernard saw a big uptick in carries last week as Jeremy Hill proved his ineffectiveness for the umpteenth time by running for just 15 yards on 7 carries. Bernard is still inexplicably priced under Hill even though he’s out produced him in almost every game and out-snapped him 49-20 last week as well. At $4500 the price is good but the matchup is not as RBs have generally struggled versus the Cardinals. However with Bernard being involved in the pass game he’s got a shot at racking up a ton of catches as Andy Dalton will need his check down more than usual against the elite Arizona secondary. He’s strictly a tournament play but someone I’d at least consider for primetime leagues.
Gameflow: this will be an interesting matchup and might be a more defensive game than people think. The Bengals D and their secondary have played well all season and match up well with the Cards highly skilled group of WRs, who might not be fully healthy for this game. The Bengals will have to deal with the nasty secondary of Arizona too but have some secondary weapons they can rely on like Marvin Jones and Gio Bernard to move the ball. I’m calling for a bounce back here for Cincy after an embarrassing week 10 loss at home, but this should be a close game regardless of who wins.
Bengals 24 Cardinals 22
– Larry Fitzgerald $7200 (if no Floyd)
– Tyler Eifert $5900
– A.J. Green $7600
– Andy Dalton $6600
– Carson Palmer $6700
Bills @ Patriots
Point Total: 48.5
Spread: Patriots -7
In his first meeting with the Patriots Tyrod Taylor had a huge fantasy day scoring over 30 points as the Bills were productive in garage time action after giving up a huge lead earlier in the game. The Patriots have been excellent versus the run so far in 2015 but have given up three 300 yard passing games against them in the last 5 weeks. At $5200 I love the price on Taylor and think he’s a great bet again to pile up a big fantasy day. The Bills haven’t thrown it more than 20 times in two of their last three games but will have to score to keep up in this game and that means lots of running and more passing for Taylor. Keep him in mind this week as he could be the massive MNF play you’ve been looking for.
While you have to love the production from Lesean McCoy and Karlos Williams of late the two are actually killing each other’s fantasy potential. McCoy has looked fabulous since coming back from injury but has ceded touches in the red zone to the rookie who has now scored a TD in every game he’s played in the NFL. Even against the Patriots tough run defense I don’t think targeting McCoy is necessarily a bad idea for tournaments as he could easily score multiple times if the Bills jump out early and has been more involved in the passing game of late. Still, use caution as both the projected game flow and the matchup are not in McCoy’s favour.
The Bills haven’t been throwing much but when they have Sammy Watkins has been the man they’ve been targeting. While I love the connection brewing between the talented Watkins and his QB this matchup does scare me a bit as Super Bowl hero Malcom Butler has been raising his level of play since the start of the year. Butler allowed Odell Beckham to break free once last week but then completely shut him down the rest of the way allowing only 3 catches for 17 yards after the 87 yard, broken-play, TD. I still think targeting Watkins makes sense as he could see upwards of 12 targets if the Bills ae down late and might also benefit from softer coverage in that situation too. Watkins is by no means foolproof, but at $4800 he’s possibly the steal of the week at WR.
The Patriots lost their second big weapon in two weeks versus the Giants as Julian Edelman went down with a fractured foot. Without Edelman here was the passing targets from last week’s game for the Patriots:
With Edelman out you can Danny Amendola is in a great spot to see massive usage over the next little while and is also in a great spot for a big game this weekend too. The Bills have been eaten up by other team’s secondary/slot receivers and with the Bills best CB Stephon Gilmore guarding Brandon LaFell in this game it’s definitely on the table for Amendola to have a monster performance in his first game as Edelman’s replacement. At only $4000 he’s one of the top three, if not the best value play of the entire week on DraftKings… As for the rest of the Patriots receivers I mentioned already that Brandon Lafell will have Stephon Gilmore covering him, but what about Rob Gronkowski? Gronk slaughtered the Bills for 113 yards and a TD in their first game and his usage will only increase with no Edelman or Dion Lewis around to spread targets to. Gronk’s proven to be matchup proof this season having big games versus the likes of the Jets, Bills and Dolphins and with his price actually dropping by $300 to $7700 he’s definitely someone I’ll have lots of exposure to in this game.
Last but not least let’s talk about Tom Brady. The last time the Pats played the Bills Brady threw for 466 yards on 59 attempts and had one of his best games of the year. This week, coming off of two average performances and playing on MNF I think Brady might actually be a little under owned and a perfect tournament target. Brady may have lost some of his weapons but still has one of the best red zone targets in the game and two reliable receivers to throw to. In a week where there’s not necessarily any huge games to target using Brady and some Patriots in a tournament stack might actually be a tiny bit contrarian and a way to differentiate yourself from the crowd. I’ll definitely have some exposure.
Gameflow: I expect this game to go similar to what we saw in week 2 with the caveat being that I expect the score to be a lot closer at the end. The Patriots have suffered significant losses the last couple of games and that’s not something to ignore. Still, with how their defense is playing I think it will be hard for Buffalo to play how they want to on offense and eventually they’ll be forced to air it out. While an upset could happen, I still think the difference between these two teams is too great for it to happen now.
Patriots 28 Bills 23
– Tyrod Taylor $5300
– Danny Amendola $4000
– Rob Gronkowski $7700
– Tom Brady $8500
– Sammy Watkins $4800
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 3