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: PIT @ CIN, SD @ KC, SEA @ BAL, SF @ CLE, TEN @ NYJ
Steelers @ Bengals
Point Total: 49
Spread: Bengals -3
The Steelers pass offense is in top gear right now and should be a handful for the Bengals this weekend as QB Ben Roethlisberger has averaged 399 passing yards in his last three games and looked near unstoppable at times. Even though the Bengals held Big Ben to just a TD and 3 INTs in their week 8 meeting I think they’ll be hard pressed to hold this offense down again. At $6800 Roethlisberger is a high level tournament play that I’d recommend getting some exposure to this weekend.
Here are the receiving targets for the Steelers last two weeks of play:
You can just go ahead and lock Antonio Brown in as a must play in pretty much every game from here on in. Bengals CBs Adam Jones and Leon Hall have played well this season but both are hurting and both might miss this game. Brown is fully capable of overcoming any matchup but would absolutely feast if he sees the Bengals backup CBs this week. Of all the high end WR’s Brown is the safest and most likely to get you 20 or more fantasy points this weekend… I also love Martavis Bryant this week again for many of the same reasons I did last week. Bryant benefits big time from Brown taking the opponents best corner in coverage and this week he’s slated to up against CB Dre Kirkpatrick who’s currently graded as the 6th worst CB in the league on Pro Football Focus. Bryant’s set up for a monster day here and could be the difference this week in what should be an exciting game, consider him as a value play with elite upside at only $5700.
The Bengals run defense has been solid of late but they really haven’t taken on an elite RB since they faced the Steelers back in week 8 when a Lev Bell and DeAngelo Williams combo put up 116 rushing yards on just 19 carries. At $6000 Williams is still very underpriced considering the workload he’s been getting (93 % of the snaps the last two games) and a near must play for me in cash games (HU’s and 50/50’s). Until Williams starts being priced as the top 1 or 2 RB on DraftKings consider him a must play.
The Steelers defense has been up and down all season allowing 3 games of 4 passing TDs by opposing QBs, but also limiting QBs to one or less TD in 7 games. One area that has been strong for Pittsburgh is their pass rush which has now recorded the third most sacks in the league as of week 13. As good as Andy Dalton has played this year I think it’s possible we see the Steelers at least limit his upside a bit with their pass rush. I’ll likely avoid Dalton this week and look for better matchups.
AJ Green has really come on the past two weeks and took advantage of Tyler Eifert being out/hurt the last two games by recording 3 TDs. Eifert is healthy this week however and might cut into a bit of his production. Still the Steelers have had issues covering the WR all season and just benched former starting CB Antwon Blake, meaning Green will see mostly William Gay and Ross Cockrell in coverage. This improvement in personnel might be key to the Steelers at least limiting Green to another huge day (he put up 11 catches 118 yards and a TD in week 8 against them) although I still think this week sets up nicely for Green once again. At $7900 a big day will needed by Green if the Bengals have any hope of keeping up with the Steelers offense, he’s a definite consideration for tournaments this week if you’re paying up for WR… While both Marvin Jones and Tyler Eifert have nice matchups this week the targeting on both has been sporadic. Eifert has been a red zone beast but only caught 3 passes in each of his last 3 games, while Jones has been more of a safety valve for Dalton and hasn’t recorded more than 80 yards receiving in a game since week 6. Of the two Eifert likely has the bigger upside, but I would keep my exposure to either player limited as a slow day from either would not surprise me.
At RB Jeremy Hill had a decent game last week as predicted in this column but gets a much stiffer test this week as the Steelers have one of the best run defenses in the league. I wasn’t super impressed with how Hill ran last week and was disappointed he didn’t bust off a bigger game given how the Browns D is playing. Gio Bernard continues to look like the better back in this duo and should see more playing time in a game where the Bengals could be trailing at some point. I like the ppr upside with Gio but would still recommend limited exposure if any as the Steelers really have been solid at covering the RB all season.
Gameflow: This should be a good game for viewing purposes. The Bengals are a great team but I think they are running head on into a storm right now as the Steelers offense looks borderline unstoppable. I expect this game to be close for a certain period of time but eventually for Pitts offense to pull ahead and get them the win. Expect lots of fantasy points and lots of scoring.
Steelers 34 Bengals 27
– Ben Roethlisberger $6800
– DeAngelo Williams $6000
– Antonio Brown $8900
– Martavis Bryant $5700
– A.J. Green $7900
– Tyler Eifert $5600
Chargers @ Chiefs
Point Total: 45.5
Spread: Chiefs -10
The Kansas City Chiefs are rolling having won 6 games in a row by at least 10 points. While they’ve allowed passing TDs over their last couple of games they’ve also recorded 9 INTs over their last 3 games as well and have a pass rush which is suddenly tied for forth in the league in sacks. The Chargers offense got crushed last weekend by the Denver stout pass rush and this week on the road in the boisterous Arrowhead stadium I am 100% for avoiding Philip Rivers and 100% for using the Chiefs defense. There’s every possibility of a big game here for KC and they’re one of my top picks on D for the week.
At WR for the Chargers there’s little to nothing to chose from at the moment as both Stevie Johnson and Dontrelle Inman got injured in week 13 look likely to miss week 14. I’d expect both TE Antonio Gates and Ladarius Green to see more work as a result but I’m still not sure I’d consider rostering either of the two. The Chiefs did allow 7 receptions and a TD to the TE position last week but have been good at limiting the position outside of that. With all the injuries Gates could see upwards of 12 targets but he’s still risky given how well the Chiefs are playing on D. Consider him a low owned tournament play week 14.
As for the Chiefs QB Alex Smith has been rolling of late recording at least 5 carries and 20 yards running in each of his last 4 games and while also failing to record an INT since week 3. Smith isn’t putting up massive numbers but his good play is helping his receivers, here’s his pass distribution from the last two games:
As you can see the only receiver getting consistent enough targeting for DFS purposes is Jeremy Maclin. Maclin’s been terrific lately recording three TDs and 18 receptions in his last two games. While the matchup with top rated CB Jason Verrett this week sounds scary the Chiefs have also been good at moving Maclin around the formation and using him on quick screens to get him the ball (he scored on two last week). Maclin’s still only $5500 and as we’ve seen the last couple of weeks offers some elite upside in an offense that is really rolling, I’d consider him as a mid level WR in all formats week 14.
At RB you have to like that the Chiefs are running a lot but not that they’re splitting carries between Spencer Ware and Charcandrick West. West played on 34 of the snaps last week, compared to 17 for Ware, but Ware took 3 red zone carries to West’s 1 and also scored a TD. I love the matchup for West but at $5100 he’s a hard sell given the quality of snaps he’s losing Ware. The safe play is to probably avoid both, although I do think West could have a big game versus this failing Chargers team and would consider him for tournaments.
Gameflow: I expect you’ll see a repeat of last week from the Chargers. The KC defense is playing great in all phases right now and the Chargers are dealing with injuries everywhere. Add to the fact that the KC offense under Alex Smith is simply controlling the ball and ripping time off the clock as needed and you have a likely 7th win in a row for the surprisingly Chiefs. Expect another lopsided victory with the possibility of a couple decent scorers for fantasy on the Chiefs side.
Chiefs 27 Chargers 13
– Chiefs D $3200
– Jeremy Maclin $5500
– Charcandrick West $5100
– Antonio Gates $4600
Seahawks @ Ravens
Point Total: 42.5
Spread: Seahawks -3.5
This is a tale of two teams headed in opposite directions. The Seahawks have now scored 75 points in their last two games and are absolutely rolling on offense. QB Russell Wilson has thrown for 11 TDs and 0 INTs in his last three games and looks rejuvenated after a slow start. As bad as they were at the start of the year the Ravens D has actually picked it up of late and haven’t allowed a QB to throw for more than 220 yards versus them since week 8. Still, it’s hard to see the Ravens, who have little to play for, slowing down the Hawks too much and with the way Russel Wilson is playing a third big game in a row is definitely on the table. At $6300 Wilson has been the best fantasy QB in the league the past two weeks but is still priced well below many others at his position on DraftKings. Use the savings to your advantage and roster him this weekend.
Here’s how Wilson’s passing targets have been distributed the past couple of games:
While Doug Baldwin has been massive of late I think last week was the start of something big for Tyler Lockett. The rookie has made some waves as a kick returner this year but recently has taken a bigger role on offense with Jimmy Graham out and led the Seahawks receivers in targets and receptions last week. With the Seattle defense being a good play this week too (more on that below) I love using Lockett along with the Seattle D for a positive correlation play as Lockett’s return ability gives him another way to get you points. Consider Lockett against this weak secondary in week 14 and also check out my week 13 Lineup Review video from last week on DKTV where I discuss the viability of this play… At $4500 I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention Doug Baldwin who’s been on fire recently and led the Hawks in targets the last few weeks. Baldwin will likely get more attention in coverage this week due to his recent hot streak but his level of play makes him a great value choice nonetheless. While I think Lockett is the better tournament option, Baldwin could certainly be considered safer for HU and 50/50 contests this week.
RB Thomas Rawls has seen around 2/3rds of the snaps on offense the past two weeks only losing time in pass situations to Fred Jackson. The Ravens have been decent against the run all season but are by no means dominant and just allowed Lamar Miller rush for over 100 yards in week 13. With the Seattle offense humming Rawls should get lots of red zone looks and lots of carries in general. He’s once again a high upside option for me.
The Ravens will either start Matt Schaub or Jimmy Clausen at QB this week. This would actually be Clausen’s second start against the Seahawks who shut him out in week 3 when he was a Bear. Either way this situation is a disaster waiting to happen for Baltimore who is going to have massive problems moving the ball against the Hawks who have been tough against the run and still have a great pass rush. While RB Javorius Allen was a massive ppr play last weekend I wouldn’t expect the same kind of result this week as the Hawks have the personnel to limit any kind of yardage he might gain after the catch. Allen’s been getting 70% or so of the snaps every week since Justin Forsett went down but even volume isn’t going to let him overcome this kind of matchup and the lack of decent personnel at QB and WR. All in all the Ravens have a tiny projected team point total here and not much going for them on offense… strongly consider paying up the $3500 for the Seahawks on defense this week as a shutout here is a possibility.
Gameflow: Two teams headed in opposite directions is likely an understatement. The Seahawks have looked great the last two weeks and have found the swagger that led them to the Superbowl the last two seasons. The Ravens are now playing out the string and might also be without their second string QB. It’s safe to say I think the Hawks will win and probably by a lot. Expect Hawks dominance on both sides of the ball and some possible offensive magic from Wilson and his rookie WR.
Seahawks 30 Ravens 10
– Russell Wilson $6300
– Tyler Lockett $3500
– Seahawks D $3500
– Thomas Rawls $5800
– Doug Baldwin $4500
49ers @ Browns
Point Total: 41
Spread: Browns -1
This game has a small point projection for both teams and little fantasy upside. The 49ers are coming off their second shock win of the year and QB Blaine Gabbert has now averaged 22 fantasy points per game in his last two starts and looked pretty good doing it. The Browns are an enticing target as they’ve allowed 3 or more passing TDs in three of their last 5 games but I’m not sure it’s enough for me to want to use Gabbert. The 49ers as a team have the 7th lowest yards per completion in the league and outside of a broken play or two to Torrey Smith the last couple weeks are a dink and dunk offense. I’d look for QBs with better upside this week and avoid Gabbert on DraftKings.
RB Shaun Draughn had his third productive game in a row and could be set for a fourth this weekend. Draughn’s been a major benefactor of Gabbert starting as he’s been the preferred dump off target for the conservative QB. Draughn has now averaged 6 receptions since taking the starting job and played on 80% of the snaps in week 13. At $4800 I hate the price increase but respect the volume and would suggest considering him this week if you’re looking to stay cheap at RB. Draughn is more than capable of scoring for the second week in a row on this weaker Brown run D.
While Travis Benjamin has had some success with Johnny Manziel in at QB this year he’s banged up and looking doubtful for week 14. TE Gary Barnidge is also looking iffy to play after rolling an ankle in week 13 although he looks more likely to suit up than Benjamin. If one or both of these player’s miss than that would leave Brian Hartline as the de facto number one receiver. Hartline has actually caught 22 passes over the last three weeks and at $3700 would represent a decent value play against the weaker San Fran secondary. While I’m not in love with this play, if one or both of Benjamin/Barnidge miss this week Hartline becomes an exceptional value play as he might see upwards of 10+ targets. Watch the injury news and look to Hartline as a value play if it works his teammates sit out… At RB the Browns have had no success running this year but RB Duke Johnson Jr. has now caught 13 passes over his last three games and is playing on over 50% of the snaps every week. With major injury issues affecting the Browns WR core (Andrew Hawkins and Taylor Gabriel are also out for this game) Johnson Jr. could be used even more as a receiver and would be the other play I’d consider if Benjamin and Barnidge miss.
Gameflow: Welcome to the least watched game of the week. These are two teams going through down years, or down decades in the case of the Browns. Of the two the 49ers are by far the more functional franchise right now and proved last week they’re capable of closing a game out. Expect more Browns shenanigans, a boring game, and another 49ers victory.
49ers 21 Browns 16
– Brian Hartline $3700
– Shaun Draughn $4800
– Duke Johnson Jr. $3800
Titans @ Jets
Point Total: 43
Spread: Jets -7
The Titans pass defense has struggled the past few games and opposing QBs have put up 300+ yards and 3 TDs or more in consecutive games. Ever since he shaved his beard Jets QB Ryan Fitzpatrick has been massive for fantasy and he’s now thrown for 6 TDs and no INTs in his last two games. With the Titans pass D floundering and the Jets having trouble running the ball I love Fitzpatrick again as a cheap QB. At $5400 he gives you great savings while once again offering 25+ point fantasy upside. Consider him at QB this weekend.
The Titans secondary has been absolutely torched the past few weeks and they’ve now given up 4 games of 100 yards receiving or more and 7 TDs in total to the WR position over their last three games. For the Jets receiving wise there’s really only two players to consider and they both make great targets this weekend. Brandon Marshall has been unstoppable since regaining his health and made short work of Prince Amukamara last weekend recording 12 catches for 131 yards and a TD. Marshall will likely be seeing lots of practice squad promotee B.W. Webb this week who will likely have no chance of slowing Marshall down. At $7600 look for a third straight big game here for Marshall and make sure you consider him as a cornerstone for your cash games, he’s playing some of the best football of his career at the moment… At $6400 Eric Decker’s averaged 11 targets in his last two games and has been amazingly consistent for fantasy this season averaging over 17 fantasy points while never failing to score less than 11 points in game this season. Decker has a great matchup this week and will most definitely be the lower owned of the two. I love Decker for tournaments and won’t be shocked if he has a big game too.
AT RB Chris Ivory has struggled to get going recently and is losing a lot of snaps to Bilal Powell who played on 58% of the snaps for the Jets last weekend. While I like the price on Powell ($3500), the split in carries makes think avoiding both these backs is the right play in DFS this week. The Titans have also been one of the best teams at limiting RB production this season and matchup wise there are probably higher upside spots for your RBs. Avoid or limit your exposure to the Jets run game this weekend.
The Titans Marcus Mariota had a massive game last weekend fueled mainly by his amazing 87 yard TD run late in the game. The Jets have been good at limiting opposing QBs most of the year and while they have been suffering as a pass D lately the Jets still provide a much tougher test than the Jags did last weekend. I love the upside with Mariota, especially since he’s opened things up recently with his legs, but would advocate having limited exposure this weekend. In a road game against an above average team there’s a possibility for some regression here.
Here’s how Mariota’s passing targets have been distributed the past couple of games:
Delanie Walker’s been the de facto number one receiver for Tennessee all year (even though he’s a TE) and now posted three consecutive games of 15 fantasy points or more. The Jets may have nice stats versus the TE but they’ve suffered in coverage as a group recently allowing 6 receiving TDs in their last three games. At $5600 Walker might be the most consistent TE in fantasy right now and is someone I’d 100% consider paying up in all formats this week… At WR rookie Dorial Green Beckham made the most of his 5 targets last week converting all 5 into catches for over 100 yards receiving and a TD. The Jets secondary has been laughable lately and Beckham could see a lot of the very burnable Antonio Cromartie in coverage this week. At only $3700 Beckham is without a doubt an intriguing tournament target as his size and pure athleticism means he has tons of upside versus the leaky Jets DBs.
Gameflow: I loved watching Marcus Mariota burn the Jags with his legs last weekend. The Titans however are a team with a ton of issues and even though they look to have found some confidence on offense their defense has really struggled lately and will be hard pressed to limit both Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker. This might be a higher scoring game than people realize and there’s some decent fantasy targets, ultimately though I see the Jets prevailing.
Jets 27 Titans 21
– Brandon Marshall $7600
– Delanie Walker $5600
– Ryan Fitzpatrick $5400
– Eric Decker $6400
– Marcus Mariota $5700
– Dorial Green-Beckham $3700
NFL GAME BREAKDOWN – PAGE 2