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: IND @ HOU, BUF @ TEN, CHI @ KC, CLE @ BAL, JAX @ TB
Colts @ Texans
Point Total: 41
Spread: -4.5 Texans
Over his past four games vs the Texans Andrew Luck has averaged 20.99 fantasy points in four straight wins over Houston. Luck is coming off of a shoulder injury but if he does go he will be a high upside play against a Texans team who has been lit up at times by the pass in 2015. The bad O-line of the Colts means you should keep Luck to tournament lineups only though, check his status before game time as he’s now very questionable for this game.
RB Frank Gore is getting a lot of volume as the Colts really don’t have any established runners behind him. Gore played on 76% of the snaps last week and now will get a Texans offense who Devonta Freeman just torched for 3 TDs and 80 yards receiving last week. I could see Gore being heavily involved in both the run and passing game with Luck’s shoulder injury possibly limiting his deep ball ability. At $5000 Gore is very affordable and guaranteed a lot of work, he’ll have a high point floor in this game.
Here were the targets last week for the Colts receivers… keep in mind Andrew luck wasn’t playing:
TY Hilton’s now almost three weeks removed from his minor knee scare week 1 and should be 100% rolling into this game. He’s burned the Texans for a couple huge games in the past and I won’t be shocked if he ends up putting another big game up this week. His price makes him a perfect low-owned tournament play… As for TE Coby Fleener he again had a big game for the Colts with Dwayne Allen out of the lineup week 4. Fleener’s numbers and targets have always skyrocketed without Allen and if Allen remains out for week 5 (questionable as of writing) Fleener’s price makes him a huge value play ($3200) and great salary saver in all formats.
QB Ryan Mallett was awful last week vs. the Falcons completing under 50% of his passes and throwing a pick 6. I expect the Texans to run the ball a ton in this game but also wouldn’t be shocked to see Mallett rebound in this game and play well. The Colts secondary has been leaky/ravaged by injury so there’s some potential with him. He’d be a nice contrarian pick for some primetime tournament lineups which only feature 2 or 3 games but otherwise still not worth a gamble.
The Texans WR targets for the year and their red zone targets are listed below:
DeAndre Hopkins leads the league in red zone targets this year but has only scored 1 TD in his last three games. With the Colts ace CB Vontae Davis currently questionable Hopkins could explode in this game if Davis sits and would become a must play against a very leaky secondary. Watch the news and don’t be afraid to use DeAndre if the Colts are without Davis… The Colts have been murdered by teams number 2/slot WRs this year as Eric Decker, Kendall Wright and Allen Hurns have put up 26 rec. 308 yards and 3 TDs vs the Colts in the past three week. Unfortunately both Nate Washington and Cecil Shorts are out for this game leaving rookies Keith Mumphery and Jaelen Strong to fight for the number 2 spot. Usage for either player will be hard to predict in this game and I’m personally thinking there’s not a ton of upside with either… I’d simply avoid and look elsewhere.
At RB Arian Foster returned last week and didn’t look great, but remember that the Texans were getting blown out for most the game. Foster has had some monster games in the past versus the Colts and I fully expect the Texans to use their stud RB a ton in a virtual must win game. At $7000 Foster is expensive but I think there’s upside with him in week 5 as he’s used in the pass game a lot and will be virtually assured of getting goal line work plus at least 70% of the carries. Don’t be afraid to use him in a few of your Thursday might contests.
Gameflow: I’m slightly torn on how this game is going to go. Neither defense has been good but both the offenses have struggled too. If Houston can get Arian Foster rolling early that could stake them to an early lead at some point and once again force Andrew Luck into passing a ton. I’d bet on a higher scoring game (assuming Luck plays) with Houston pulling off the minor upset.
Texans 27 Colts 24
– Arian Foster $7000
– Coby Fleener $3200 (if no Allen)
– DeAndre Hopkins $7400
– TY Hilton $6800
– Andrew Luck $7700
Bills @ Titans
Point Total: 42
Spread: -2.5 Bills
Tyrod Taylor is coming off of his worst game of the season and will be facing a Titans squad who has been has been decent at limiting the QB position thus far in 2014. Still, Tyrod is only $5800 and averaging over 5 carries a game making him an exceptionally cheap option with decent upside at QB. With the Bills now facing multiple injuries in their backfield you could see a bit of a running explosion from Taylor. I love the upside and the matchup and would fire him up as a main target this Sunday.
Here’s the receiving targets from week 4 of the Bills loss to the Giants:
TE Charles Clay saw a huge bump in targets with Watkins out week 4 and continued to flash his athleticism in a larger passing role. With the Bills backfield potentially decimated for this game I’d expect to see Clay more involved again regardless of whether Watkins is back or not. Clay’s price has gone up this week to $4100 but I still think that’s pretty low considering the targeting he has been getting and how well his QB has passed the ball. Consider him decent value at TE yet again this week… If Watkins doesn’t return I would also consider giving WR Percy Harvin another shot as a tournament play. Harvin was shut down by the Giants underrated corners in week 4 but gets a better matchup against Tennessee. With Harvin getting more looks than any other WR a big play or two is possible as is a big fantasy day.
RB Karlos Williams underwhelmed a bit in an easy matchup week 4 and is now questionable with a concussion week 4. If he can’t go Boobie Dixon would likely get the start and is only min salary. The Titans have been good against the run this year and have an improved D-line but still haven’t faced any elite run teams yet. I could see Dixon reaching at least 10 fantasy points through catches and carries alone (over 3x value) which does make him worthy of a tournament gamble. Watch the news though to see how this unfolds as the Bills may bring in another back before Sunday.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota has had a solid start to his career but has yet to hit that next level for fantasy purposes. Mariota’s rushes have been quite limited thus far—5car. 25 yards—and this week he’ll be going against a Bills passing defense who have only given up 300 yards or more of passing on 3 occasions in their last 20 games. I like Mariota but this is a very tough matchup against a defense who will be looking to make amends for a shoddy performance last week. Avoid him and wait for better opportunities.
The Titans running game has seen a different back lead them in carries every game. With all three of Bishop Sankey, Antonio Andrews and Terrence West healthy there’s zero reason to consider any of them. Buffalo is stout vs. the run and guessing who will garner the most work is fruitless… avoid.
The Titans receiving targets and red zone targets have shaped up like this through 4 games:
It’s interesting to note that TE Delanie Walker is still second on the team in targets despite only having played 1 and a half games. I mentioned last week that Mariota was really favouring his TE’s and he’s now completed 24 passes to them this season—the same number of passes he’s completed to his WR’s. The Bills have already allowed a couple big games to the TE in 2015 and Walker is certainly athletic enough to take advantage of any weakness. At $3800 I like Walker as an under the radar play this week and a great tournament option… I’d also give serious consideration to Kendall Wright this week in tournaments. The Bills have given up 6 TDs to Julien Edelman, Rishard Matthews, and Rueben Randle, all secondary receiving options for their respective teams. With ace CB Stephon Gilmore slated to cover Harry Douglas, Hunter (who leads the team in targets) could see another big day here.
Gameflow: While I favour the Bills in this matchup this probably isn’t as straightforward a pick as it seems. The Bills have let teams secondary WRs run rampant against them and may be down to their third tier RBs for this game. While the Titans aren’t world beaters they’ve been pretty solid to start the year. Still, I expect the Bills defense to ramp up the pressure in this game and for Tyrod Taylor to bounce back after a tough week.
Bills 27 Titans 20
– Charles Clay $4100
– Tyrod Taylor $5800
– Delanie Walker $3800
– Kendall Hunter $5400
Bears @ Chiefs
Point Total: 44.5
Spread: -9 Chiefs
This is one of the biggest lines of the week. The Chiefs Alex Smith was sacked 5 times in week 4 and was under constant pressure for the entire game. Luckily for the Chiefs the Bears are tied for third last in the league with 6 sacks through 4 games and don’t have the same talent up front the Bengals do. Smith has actually had 19 fantasy points or more in 3 of his four games and so at only $5500 makes for a decent value play. I like him for use as a cheap QB option this week.
RB Jamaal Charles has been getting a huge workload this year and has now been on the field for an insane 81% of all KC’s offensive snaps. The Bears have actually been pretty solid against the run for the most part, but they did get busted up pretty good in week 3 by Seattle backup Thomas Rawls, who—like Charles—is more of a quick-cutting slasher than a pure power back. In a must win game don’t be shocked to see Charles put up a monster fantasy total, I love him for DFS purposes this weekend.
TE Travis Kelce had a terrible week 4 vs. the Bengals which included a lost fumble late in the game. There is hope for a rebound vs. the Bears though as part of the reason for Kelce’s poor performance last week was the fact Alex Smith simply did not have time to get him the ball. The Bears were ravaged down the middle by Jimmy Graham week 3 and do not have the same type of pass rush the Bengals do. I love Kelce’s upside in this game and using him for tournaments… As for WR Jeremy Maclin he now has 24 targets in his last 2 games. However, with the Chiefs favoured by such a large amount you simply can’t project him to receive as many targets as he has been getting. I’m personally leaning towards sitting him as I think Charles and Kelce have more upside in this week.
The Chiefs defense has been ravaged through the air lately but will be at home after two incredibly rough road games. The Chiefs have been brutal against the pass this year but I still can’t recommend Jay Cutler for DFS this week (even though he is coming off of a great week 4). I expect the Chiefs to improve with Sean Smith back at corner and for Cutler to regress a bit on the road in one of the more hostile stadiums in the NFL. Think about using the Chiefs as a sneaky defense week 5 and leave Cutler at home.
RB Matt Forte has now been on the field for over 82% of his team’s offensive snaps this season and has also been involved in nearly 50% of all the Bears plays. With Jay Cutler back Forte becomes a much better fantasy play since teams won’t be stacking the box as much and he’ll be converting more targets into catches as a receiver (0 rec. on 3 targets without Cutler week 3). The Chiefs got gashed last week by the Bengals on the ground week 4 and Forte should get a ton of work regardless of game flow (he always does). I love him as a contrarian tournament target week 5.
Here were the Bears receiving targets from week 4:
Alshon Jeffery has been injured almost the entire year but given the state of the Bears WR core would be almost guaranteed 10+ targets in this game if he played this week (questionable). Watch the news but definitely consider paying the $6500 for Jeffery if he’s active, the price will keep his ownership levels low… TE Martellus Bennett took advantage of a weak Raiders LB core in week 4 to post a big game. Bennett has seen a big price increase though to $5000 now and becomes less of a value play. I’d be all-in on Bennett if Alshon Jeffery missed this game but would likely look elsewhere for cheaper options if he played as Bennett’s targets would be slated to decrease (possibly dramatically).
Gameflow: The Chiefs have great weapons on offense but have been stymied by a tough schedule thus far. This week though they finally get a reprieve against a shoddy Bears team who will be coming off of the high of landing their first win. I think the Bears might get an angry Chiefs squad who is ready to inflict some damage on both sides of the ball. Look for lots of scoring and the Chiefs to ultimately win going away.
Chiefs 31 Bears 21
– Jamaal Charles $7800
– Travis Kelce $5200
– Matt Forte $7000
– Alshon Jeffery $6500 (if healthy)
– Martellus Bennett $5000 (if no Alshon)
– Chiefs D $2800
– Alex Smith $5500
Browns @ Ravens
Point Total: 43.5
Spread: -6.5 Ravens
Josh McCown has now thrown for over 300 yards and 2 TDs in his past two games and gets a Ravens pass defense this week who has been brutalized by the pass thus far in 2015. However while the matchup may look great the line in this game is heavily against the Browns as they are slated to score only around 18 points. The Ravens are currently forth in the league in sacks and took down a much more mobile Mike Vick 4 times last Sunday. I am not chasing the points with McCown this week as I think the there’s some regression ahead with his point totals, I’d recommend you don’t either.
Here were the targets from week 4 for the Browns:
Travis Benjamin has now seen 23 targets in his last two games and is the clear number 1 WR in this offense. Benjamin is still only $4500 on DraftKings and even though I’m not fond of his QB I do think there’s some value with him at that price tag. Consider Benjamin as a decent value play as the volume of passes he’s receiving means a decent return is likely… At RB for the Browns Duke Johnson saw 61% of the snaps in week 4 compared to just 37% for Isaiah Crowell. Johnson was being used more as receiver in week 4 and the Browns did an excellent job getting him the ball in space. With the Ravens being tough against the run look for the Browns to employ the Duke even more in the pass game this week. At only $4600 I’m a buyer for week 5… TE Gary Barnidge has now had two excellent receiving games in a row but will face a Ravens D who have essentially shut down all TE’s they’ve faced in 2015. There’s better matchups to target in this game and so I’m fine leaving Gary on the bench this week.
The Ravens lost their number 1 WR Steve Smith last week and are now left with a complete hodgepodge of receivers for QB Joe Flacco to throw to. Flacco has been up and down to start the year and with the running game ramping up last weekend I expect the Ravens to lean heavily on it once again against the Browns porous run defense. I don’t like the upside of the Ravens pass game with Smith gone and I’m fine leaving Joey Flacs on the bench for week 5.
After 3 low output games to start the year Justin Forsett played 76% of the snaps in week 4 and took 27 carries for 150 yards against the Steelers. The Browns defense has given up the fifth most fantasy points to RBs in the league, allowing an average of 139 yards rushing and 59 yards receiving to RBs through four games. With Forsett’s pricing now taking him under the 6k range to $5800 he becomes one of the best value plays of the week as you should expect the Ravens to keep riding his hot hand in a great matchup. Make Forsett one of your top RB targets this weekend.
Here were the WR targets for the Ravens week 4:
With Steve Smith out Joe Flacco targeted his TE’s 9 times week 4 but split work between Nick Boyle and Maxx Williams. Crockett Gilmore is looking iffy to play week 5 but even if he doesn’t I can’t say for certain where the targets will go for fantasy. I’d simply fade Ravens TEs and look elsewhere for value… With Steve Smith and Michael Campanaro both out the starting WRs for the Ravens now look to be Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown. Aiken is by far the safer choice amoung the two as he led the team in targets last week. Brown has been big for Baltimore in the past though and actually caught 49 passes and 7 TDs in 2013. Brown actually played on 91% of the snaps week 4 and his experience working with Flacco might pay off in this game… I love him as a min-priced tournament gamble week 5.
Gameflow: I think you might see a bit of a blow-out. The Ravens played pretty well last week (save for a couple brutal turnovers) and look like they might have turned it around a bit on defense. The Browns are coming off of a devastating loss and now have to travel to Baltimore to face an upbeat Ravens team. Look for the Ravens defense to put a ton of pressure on McCown and for the Ravens run game to keep rolling.
Ravens 27 Browns 13
– Justin Forsett $5800
– Ravens D $2900
– Duke Johnson $4600
– Marlon Brown $3000
– Travis Benjamin $4500
Jaguars @ Buccaneers
Point Total: 43
Spread: -3 Bucs
The Buccaneers secondary has allowed 6 TDs to WRs through 4 games and probably only been saved from having a worse defensive ranking vs. WRs due to teams running out the clock late. While you saw a ton of Allen Hurns last week that was mainly due to the presence of shutdown corner Vontae Davis. This week WR Allen Robinson is slated to up against Tampa CB Mike Jenkins who currently grades out as one of the top 20 worst statistical corners (per pro Football Focus) so far in 2015. With Hurns seeing a big price jump for week 5 this is the time to bench him and get back on Arob who should be able to dominate this weak secondary and reassert himself as the lead dog in Jacksonville.
The Bucs have given up over a hundred yards rushing in each game so far this year and an average of 1 TD to RBs per game. With RB TJ Yeldon seeing so much field (94% of the snaps) I’m actually liking him as a fantasy target this week in a game I think the Jags could and should win. Yeldon may not be explosive but as a volume play in a projected tight game he’s a nice sleeper pick at $4400… With the game total being fairly small and the Jags likely to focus on the run I’d probably look elsewhere for cheap QBs than Blake Bortles. Bortles does have 5 TDs v 1 INT in his last 3 games but still lacks upside (only one 300 yard passing game in his career). With this game possibly be a snoozer/boring for fantasy purposes I am fine avoiding him for fantasy.
QB Jameis Winston struggled mightily last week but continues to rack up decent numbers in garbage time. Winston isn’t a target for me (ever) because his turnovers (5 INTs) and inaccuracy (54.9% completion rate) just take away so much fantasy upside. Still, with the Jags sporting a decent run defense and the Bucs also possibly trailing late at some point, looking to target a Tampa receiver for fantasy purposes isn’t a horrible idea… on that note here’s how the Bucs targeting has looked for the year:
Even though WR Vincent Jackson is the clear leader in targets (and yards) for the Bucs this season part of the reason for his explosion last week was the fact Mike Evans had stud CB Josh Norman on him all day. Previously Evans had received 17 targets week 3 and looked primed for a breakout. With the Jags best corner (Davon House) currently slated to cover VJax this could easily be the week where you see a shift back in targeting to Evans and the big fantasy many have been waiting for. I’m a buyer in tournaments.
Outside of allowing LeGarrette Blount to score three short yardage TDs against them in a blowout the Jag defense has actually been pretty solid against the run, limiting RBs to 3.29 ypc so far this season. Doug Martin had a big week 4 against the Panthers but still only saw the field for 48% of the plays. At $4700 Martin’s cheap but will always be a gamble due to lack of volume. I’d recommend him as a play for tournaments since there’s upside against a not great Jags team, he’s risky though so consider yourself warned if he flops.
Gameflow: The Bucs are favoured in this game but I really do see the Jags as the better all-around team. Jacksonville has been fairly solid on defense and could easily be 2-2 heading into this game if not for their kicker choking on three different occasions in week 4. Expect this game to be fairly close but for the Jags to capitalize on some likely Winston turnovers and win a tight game.
Jaguars 21 Buccaneers 19
– TJ Yeldon $4400
– Allen Robinson $5400
– Mike Evans $6500
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