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 @ OAK, CAR @ NO, PHI @ NE, IND @ PIT, DAL @ WAS
Chiefs @ Raiders
Point Total: 44
Spread: Chiefs -3
The Chiefs’ defense has been solid of late but have struggled mightily versus the WR position this season. The Raiders passing game, led by Derek Carr has been solid all season and threw for over 300 yards in a game for the sixth time in 11 games last week versus the Bills. At home, even against a pretty stout KC D-line, I think Carr has a shot at a big fantasy game here. The Raiders have talented receivers and Carr has been great at getting them the ball downfield all season, he’s a definite tournament play for me in week 13.
Here’s how the passing targets have been distributed for the Raiders over their past two games:
Seth Roberts had himself a monster week 12 but it’s important to note that Roberts only played on 45% of the snaps in week 12 and a lot of Roberts big game was built on a couple broken plays in the red zone. Meanwhile Amari Cooper, who also went over 100 yards receiving, played on over 90% of the snaps and was a TD away from a massive game. This week Cooper will matchup with Chiefs CB Sean Smith who Sammy Watkins torched for several long plays last weekend. With the way Cooper’s QB is playing I could see another big game developing here. I love Cooper in this matchup and think he’s a definite consideration in most formats week 13.
One area I’m not too high on for Oakland is their run game. KC has been stout versus RBs and has only allowed one 100 yard rusher on the entire season. With Latavius Murray struggling of late (1 TD in his last 5 games) I’d be fine avoiding him completely in this matchup and looking elsewhere for RBs. His price ($4800) does make him slightly more intriguing but it’s still hard to see him posting a big game versus KC.
QB Alex Smith has sneakily been one of the most active runners at his position the last few games and has now averaged 6 carries and 45 yards rushing over his last 4 games. While Smith is still one of the lowest volume, most conservative passers in the game the way to attack Oakland is through the air and Smith has the weapons to employ that strategy. At only $5100 I think this whole KC passing game is worth considering this week and that includes Smith as a cheap tournament play at QB.
The Chiefs offense got back on track in a big way last week with WR Jeremy Maclin posting a huge day against a pretty good corner in Stephon Gilmore. Oakland’s corners have had trouble shutting down teams number 1 WRs all season and have allowed other target monsters like Steve Smith and Antonio Brown to post some massive games against them. At only $5200 I’m definitely in on Maclin for this game and think he offers similar upside to last week. The Chiefs may need to throw the ball a bit if they get behind early to this high powered Raiders pass game… I also think using Travis Kelce is a good idea for many of the reasons I think it’s a good idea to use Maclin. The Raiders have been terrible at allowing TE’s to find the end zone against them and have given up an average of 1 TD a game to the position. Kelce isn’t getting huge targeting every week (averaging around 8 per game) but he does lead the Chiefs in red zone targeting and at $4700 is much cheaper than other elite TE options. I like Kelce this week and think the Chiefs passing game as a whole might be a great stack for tournaments.
At RB Charcandrick West is set to return this week but is likely to be splitting at least some of the workload now with Spencer West who was terrific in his absence. The Raiders have gotten smoked a couple times in their past 5 games by RBs (Adrian Peterson and Deangelo Williams) and so there is some upside in targeting the Chiefs run game. If looking to roster one of these backs West would be my choice as he’s the more versatile back and the one more likely to get a bigger workload. Both are risky options though as both will likely eat into the others point total.
Gameflow: I think most people will be expecting the Raiders to roll over in this game but I don’t really see it that way. The Chiefs have bene on a nice run but are susceptible to teams like Oakland who can really chuck the ball. Derek Carr has thrived in tough matchups this year and I could see him having another big game here. Look for Oakland to post the upset at home and get back in the playoff hunt.
Raiders 27 Chiefs 23
– Jeremy Maclin $5200
– Amari Cooper $6900
– Travis Kelce $4700
– Alex Smith $5100
– Charcandrick West $5200
– Derek Carr $6200
Panthers @ Saints
Point Total: 49
Spread: Panthers -7
I won’t get into too much detail since most people will already be targeting him in this game, but Cam Newton has a great matchup this week for fantasy. The Saints secondary has given up 3.5 TDs over their last 6 games and Newton has been taking a ton of carries every week and passing the ball well too. At $7400 Cam’s squarely on the radar this week for me as a high upside option at QB and someone you should consider in all formats… The one thing that worries me in this game from a Newton-fantasy perspective is the fact that the Panthers run the highest number of rushing plays per game in the NFL, making this a possible spot for a big game from RB Jonathan Stewart too. The Saints have given up a lot of points to RBs this season and had trouble stopping the one dimensional Alfred Blue last week. Stewart is a bigger and better version of Blue and so his big fantasy game could certainly be lurking here. At $5300 I’m definitely considering Stewart as a play this weekend and will be targeting him more in tournaments as he should be much lower owned than Newton.
As for the Panthers receivers, TE Greg Olsen might be the most obvious play this week at his position and again, there is good reason for it. The Saints secondary has been atrocious versus the TE allowing 5.88 rec. 78 yards and .91 TDs per game to the position. Olsen has clearly been the Saints best receiver all season and leads them in red zone and overall targeting making a big game here an extreme possibility. At $6400 he’s expensive but is clearly worth paying up for if you can.
On the Saints QB Drew Brees has been pretty mediocre all season outside of his one explosion game versus the Giants. The Panthers have only allowed one QB to throw for more than 2 TDs against them all season (Aaron Rodgers) and seeing how the equally talented Texans defense shut down the Saints last week I’m not high at all on the New Orleans pass game. I’ll be avoiding Brees at his still pricy $6900 in salary.
Here’s a view of the Saints passing targets over their last two games:
To quote Han Solo, I’ve got a bad feeling about this week for Brandin Cooks in fantasy. Cooks has a matchup with Josh Norman and is a complete no go for me against the best CB in football right now, just look elsewhere … TE Ben Watson could reappear for fantasy in this game as the Saints may have trouble throwing to the WR positions given the stout nature of the Panthers CBs. You could consider him as an option for tournaments, but I still like other players at his position in his price range more, he’s complete boom or bust… All in all this receiving group have been hit or miss all year and isn’t in a great spot this week versus the dominate Panthers, I’ll be avoiding most if not all of these players.
At RB Mark Ingram is finally seeing a majority of the snaps for New Orleans but is now getting his carries reduced due to the Saints constantly falling behind in games. At $6400 Ingram is pricy but might be the one Saint worth targeting from this game. Ingram should play a ton and even if he doesn’t get a lot of carries again he should see a lot of work in the pass game where he has 13 targets over his last two games. At $6400 he’s a tournament only option but one I’d consider especially if looking to stack this game.
Gameflow: The Saints have really been up and down all season and lately, after losing three in a row, they’ve been horribly down. The Panthers defense is on par with the group the Saints faced last week and I fear another slow day fantasy wise coming from New Orleans. Game flow wise I could see Carolina getting up early and then running the ball a ton on the road. Regardless, I don’t see the Saints as a good team at all right now and expect the Panthers to march on to 12-0
Panthers 27 Saints 17
– Cam Newton $7400
– Jonathan Stewart $5300
– Greg Olsen $6400
– Mark Ingram $6400
Eagles @ Patriots
Point Total: 49
Spread: Patriots -9.5
The Eagles pass game has been horrific for most of the year. Jordan Matthews is averaging a measly five targets over his last 3 games and Eagles WRs have only topped 100 yards in a game twice on the entire year (both Matthews). Against the Patriots, who have one of the best pass rushes in the league and an emerging secondary, I want nothing to do with anyone in this passing game for Philly regardless of who starts at QB. The Eagles are headed nowhere but down and I fully expect the Patriots to hasten their decent with a butt kicking this weekend.
At RB It appears as if Ryan Mathews is going to miss his third straight game due to a concussion and so Demarco Murray should see over 60% of the snaps in this game again. The Patriots run defense has been good for most of the year but has allowed 4 TDs to RBs over its last 2 games and might be showing some chinks in its armor. Murray would strictly be a tournament only play but given the volume he’ll be getting could be a sneaky play mainly due to some possible big ppr points. I’ll likely have no exposure as I don’t trust anyone on Philly right now to have a big game, but he’s still at least in the conversation if making a big field tournament lineup.
The Eagles defense has been the real culprit in their slide toward oblivion, giving up an incredible 90 points and 10 passing TDs in their last two games. Tom Brady, who despite the loss last week threw for 3 TDs against Denver, could have an absolute field day in this matchup regardless of what high school players the Pats start at receiver (only half joking). At $8000 I love paying up for Brady this week and think he’ll be ignored by most as the players just beneath him in salary project to be much higher owned. This might be a great spot to use a Patriots stack in tournaments.
As far as receiving targets go, here’s Brady’s distribution from his last two games:
On the injury front Danny Amendola returned to practice this week but as DK Playbook writer Adam Levitan has noted he might still not be 100% for this game: http://playbook.draftkings.com/nfl/levitans-news-notes-december-3rd/. While I love attacking the Philly secondary my inclination is that Brandon LaFell might be the better play this week. LaFell is projected to be covered by rookie Eric Rowe who’s struggled all season and will be a prime target for punishment by Brady coming off a tough loss. LaFell’s a great option this weekend and someone you can use across all formats… The other big value play from this offense this weekend will of course be Scott Chandler. Everyone saw the injury to Rob Gronkowski last week and while Gronk should only miss a week or two, Chandler will be filling in this week and is expected to see a lot more targets than usual. While I wouldn’t necessarily expect Chandler to replicate Gronk for fantasy purposes he should see at least 6-7 targets and be a prime target in the red zone. Chandler’s very capable of putting up more than a decent game here and is fantastic value at his min price tag.
The last player to consider from this game: RB LeGarrette Blount. The Pats have had trouble establishing the run lately but the Eagles run D has been deteriorating fast and game flow is more than likely going to be heavily in Blount’s favour this week. The Eagle’s just gave up 230+ yards to Doug Martin a couple of games ago and have now allowed RBs to score 4 TDs against them in their last three games. Blount’s a super volatile play but this is certainly a week where he could punish this flimsy Philly team and put up a fantasy game to remember. Consider him for tournament lineups this week too.
Gameflow: While the Patriots will be fielding a rather depleted lineup it will still be enough to beat the helpless Eagles. Philly’s shown us nothing this season and I don’t expect this to be the spot where things suddenly change for the better. In fact I’d look for the Pats to exercise their week 12 loss with a beat down here. Look for a couple surprise big fantasy games from New England players and for the Pats D to come up big too.
Patriots 35 Eagles 20
– Tom Brady $8000
– Scott Chandler $2500
– Brandon LaFell $4800
– Danny Amendola $4700 (watch injury news)
– Patriots D $3400
– LeGarrette Blount $5100
Colts @ Steelers
Point Total: 47
Spread: Steelers -7
The Colts have played well recently but still struggle against the pass allowing 2 or more passing TDs in 3 of their last four games. While they did well in shutting down the anemic Buccaneers passing game last weekend this is an entirely different test this week against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger has now thrown for over 300 yards in each of his last three games and is really heating up at the right time as the Steelers look to lock up a playoff spot. With Ben looking likely to be cleared for play this weekend off a phantom concussion he’ll be one of my main targets at QB. This is a potentially huge spot for the Steelers passing game.
The Shock of last week in fantasy was the play of WR Markus Wheaton who, out of nowhere, received 13 targets and went for 200 yards against the weaker corners of the Seahawks. However while the Wheaton’s bump was interesting I wouldn’t chase the points here as last week was the first time all season he received double digit targets. At $5600 Martavis Bryant is still getting a ton of looks from Big Ben (23 over last two games) and matches up with Greg Toler this week who’s been one of the worst cover corners in the league all season according to Pro Football focus. I love the targeting and talent on Bryant and would look for him to get back on track with a big game in this matchup, he’s a prime target for me in week 13… You can also add Antonio Brown to your list of must plays from this game. While Vontae Davis is still a good cover corner he hasn’t been as shut down in 2015 as he has been the last couple of years and just allowed Julio Jones to post a massive game against him two weeks ago. This matchup doesn’t scare me and with the Pittsburgh offense in such a good spot I have Brown as one of my top WRs for the week. This passing game could go off Sunday night.
RB DeAngelo Williams has been a force filling for Lev Bell and also been one of the most reliable fantasy plays of the year. Williams rarely comes off the field and as we saw last weekend, can also be a force in the pass game. With Pittsburgh favoured by a TD there’s every chance that Williams ends up being the monster fantasy play from this game and at only $5600 I think he has as much upside as any RB on the slate. Don’t be afraid to use multiple Pittsburgh players in your lineups this weekend, there could be a lot of scoring from the Steelers in this game.
With the Colts 7 points underdogs and likely to enter into pass happy mode at some point considering some of their receivers this week isn’t a bad idea for fantasy either. With that in mind here’s the target distribution from the Colts last two games of play:
I’ve been targeting Coby Fleener as a potential cheap TE option the past couple weeks but the targeting hasn’t quite been there for a big game. However if the Colts get down early, which they might, this could certainly be the spot where Fleener sees more targets. He’d be a consideration for me once again if I needed a cheap TE, but he would be a complete boom or bust type of play… At WR I think you have to take TY Hilton as a serious play in this game. Hilton might not have the downfield, big play potential, he has with Andrew Luck at QB but he has been Matt Hasselbeck’s weapon of choice and has out targeted his playing partner Donte Moncrief 40-29 in weeks where Hasselbeck has started. Pittsburgh got roasted last week by the Seattle WRs and in general have not been good at covering the position all year. TY might not score an 80 yard TD but his speed will get him open in this game and he might be a ppr monster this week especially with Indy likely to be trailing near the end. I love him for tournaments week 13.
Gameflow: Matt Hasselbeck has played nicely for the Colts since being inserted into the lineup but I fear his winning streak comes to an end this week. Pittsburgh is a monster offensively and will be at home coming off a tough loss this week. The Colts have been better of late but still really struggle against the pass and against teams with elite WRs. I’d look for an offensive outburst of sorts here from the Steelers and don’t think the Colts will be able to keep up.
Steelers 34 Colts 24
– Ben Roethlisberger $6600
– Antonio Brown $8600
– DeAngelo Williams $5600
– T.Y. Hilton $5700
– Coby Fleener $3000
– Martavis Bryant $5600
Cowboys @ Washington
Point Total: 42
Spread: Redskins -4.5
This isn’t a game I’ll be targeting a ton for fantasy but there are a few plays to consider. The Cowboys offense has been horrible for the most part without Tony Romo and before his return Matt Cassel had thrown for just 4 TDs vs. 5 INTs in his 3 starts. Washington has been great at home this year compiling a 4-1 record over 5 games and haven’t allowed a QB to throw for more than 2 TDs against them at home all season. At $2300 Washington is definitely another cheap defensive play you can consider and I like targeting them in this game.
As for potential Dallas plays RB Darren McFadden is still getting a ton of touches and could be in a good spot here for rebound against a Washington team who has allowed five games of 100 yards or more to RBs. McFadden has looked a little worn down of late which is a concern but with Cassel in at QB he could make up for poor rushing stats with more ppr usage as well. He’s a tournament target but projects to be very low owned at $5300… You could also consider Dez Bryant in this game for tournaments as Washington has given up two TDs to the WR position in each of their last 3 games. The issue with Dez of course is that his play has suffered dramatically this year both due to injuries and poor QB play. The safer play would be to avoid the Cowboys offense altogether, although if I was making a primetime lineup I’d be very interested in rostering Dez in some tournaments. The matchup is at least there for a big game.
As for Washington, they haven’t run the ball effectively all year and will be going up against a pretty stout Dallas secondary who haven’t allowed more than 2 passing TDs against them in a single game all season. While I’m off Kirk Cousins completely in this likely low scoring game there’s some potential in the Washington pass catchers. Here’s how the targets have been distributed by Cousins over their last two games of play:
I love the fact that Jordan Reed has continued to be the lead target for Washington even after the return of DeSean Jackson to the lineup. While Jackson and Garcon aren’t getting enough targets right now to be useful for fantasy, Reed has potential as a tournament option and is likely to be ignored by most players given that he’s now priced at $5300 on DraftKings. I think there’s some potential here with the Washington TE this week as the strong Dallas CB’s will likely force Cousins to rely on his TE more than usual.
Gameflow: This should be an ugly one. The Redskins have been up and down all season but have really been a lot better team at home this year. Dallas on the other hand is just barely clinging to playoff hope but their real chance extinguished last weekend when Tony Romo went down. I think you’ll see a mentally depleted Cowboys squad in this game and one that won’t be capable of winning a big division game on the road.
Washington 20 Cowboys 17
– Jordan Reed $5300
– Redskins D $2300
– Dez Bryant $7500
– Darren McFadden $5300
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 3